Definition of rajah in US English:


(also raja)


  • 1An Indian king or prince.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For that matter, history books that dwell on stories of rajas and maharajas who met at a tea break might be recalled.’
    • ‘This right was bestowed on us by emperors, rajas and nawabs.’
    ruler, sovereign, lord, overlord, dynast, leader, monarch, crowned head
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A title extended to petty dignitaries and nobles in India during the British Raj.
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘‘I can drive all the way to Chennai in my Ford jeep,’ the former raja says with a twinkle in his eye.’
      • ‘If wealth to pursue an expansionist programme were all that was needed, would not the booty obtained from Hindu rajas have sufficed?’
      • ‘In the forties the membership was spread among upper middle class officials and professionals, rajas and zamindars.’
      • ‘The rajas were left untouched despite demands for independence, self-rule and decolonization elsewhere.’
    2. 1.2 A title extended by the British to a Malay or Javanese ruler or chief.
      • ‘The Malay term for government, kerajaan, refers to the raja who ruled from the precolonial courts.’
      • ‘But Africans and Asians did not restore their chiefs and rajas, or seek otherwise to return to a more authentic way of life.’


From Hindi rājā, Sanskrit rājan ‘king’.