One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In central Sri Lanka: a local chief or headman.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in The Times. From Sinhala raṭē mahatmayā (now also raṭē mahattayā) from raṭē of the country, district (from Sanskrit rāṣṭra kingdom, state) + mahatmayā gentleman, also title of respect.
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