1. any very wealthy, influential, or powerful person.
  2. Also nawab. a person, especially a European, who has made a large fortune in India or another country of the East.
  3. nawab(def 1).


  1. informal a rich, powerful, or important man
  2. (formerly) a European who made a fortune in the Orient, esp in India
  3. another name for a nawab

n.1610s, “deputy governor in Mogul Empire,” Anglo-Indian, from Hindi nabab, from Arabic nuwwab, honorific plural of na’ib “viceroy, deputy,” from base n-w-b “to take someone’s place.” Also used of Europeans who came home from India having made a fortune there, hence “very rich man” (1764).

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