Definition of raja in English:


(also rajah)


  • 1An Indian king or prince.

    • ‘This right was bestowed on us by emperors, rajas and nawabs.’
    • ‘For that matter, history books that dwell on stories of rajas and maharajas who met at a tea break might be recalled.’
    • ‘And profits were defended by courts, so they were not subject to the larcenous whims of the local sheikh or rajah.’
    • ‘As legend has it, an Indian rajah sent a gift of a chess set to a king of kings as a challenge for his wise men to solve. They did, and ever since sets have been exchanged as gifts between world leaders.’
    • ‘The chauffeur, a Russian Czar from the period of Ivan the Terrible, was a fabulous guide who knew of all the kings and rajahs who had come to the area for several reasons, and brought the names of different towns and places to life.’
    ruler, sovereign, lord, overlord, dynast, leader, monarch, crowned head
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A title extended to minor dignitaries and nobles in India during the British Raj.
      • ‘The rajas were left untouched despite demands for independence, self-rule and decolonization elsewhere.’
      • ‘In the forties the membership was spread among upper middle class officials and professionals, rajas and zamindars.’
      • ‘Once the rajah was dressed in English sporting plaids in India, and once he was in a carriage in London dressed in his native costume, bejeweled and ‘blazing with diamonds.’’
      • ‘If wealth to pursue an expansionist programme were all that was needed, would not the booty obtained from Hindu rajas have sufficed?’
      • ‘‘I can drive all the way to Chennai in my Ford jeep,’ the former raja says with a twinkle in his eye.’
    2. 1.2 A title extended by the British to a Malay or Javanese ruler or chief.
      • ‘But Africans and Asians did not restore their chiefs and rajas, or seek otherwise to return to a more authentic way of life.’
      • ‘The Malay term for government, kerajaan, refers to the raja who ruled from the precolonial courts.’


From Hindi rājā, Sanskrit rājan ‘king’.