Definition of raj
1 : rule; especially, often capitalized : the former British rule of the Indian subcontinent
2 : the period of British rule in India
raj was our Word of the Day on 02/01/2010. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
When British trading posts were established in the Indian subcontinent in the 17th century, English speakers were immersed in the rich languages of the region, and Europeans quickly began adopting local words into their own vocabularies. By the end of the 1700s, Hindi contributions to our language ran from ayah (a term for a nurse or maid) to zamindar (a collector of land taxes or revenues). When English speakers borrowed raj around 1800, they used exactly the same spelling and meaning as its Hindi parent (the Hindi word in turn traces to an older term that is related to the Sanskrit word for "king"). Other words of Hindi descent that are now common in English include chintz, pundit, bungalow, veranda, seersucker, and bandanna.
Origin and Etymology of raj
Hindi & Urdu rāj, from Sanskrit rājya; akin to Sanskrit rājan king
First Known Use: 1781
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