Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Used formerly as a form of respectful address for a European man in colonial India.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. formerly, a term of respect for a white European in colonial India

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A respectful title or appellation given to Europeans of rank.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A term of respect used by the natives of India and Persia in addressing or speaking of Europeans: equivalent to Master or Sir, and even to Mistress: as, Colonel sahib; the sahib did so and so; it is the mem-sahib's command. (See mem-sahib.) It is also occasionally used as a specific title among both Hindus and Mohammedans, as Tippoo Sahib.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. formerly a term of respect for important white Europeans in colonial India; used after the name

Etymologies

Hindi sāhab, master, from Arabic ṣāḥib, companion, master, participle of ṣaḥiba, to become friends; see ṣḥb in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Hindustani (Hindi, Urdu) साहिब / صاحب (sāhib) lord, from Arabic صاحِب (sāhib) companion (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It’s March 2005, and I’m just the 75th sap — or “foreigner,” in Mizo (from the colonial Hindi term sahib) — so far this year, and one of the few sap journalists to have shown an interest in the bamboo flowering, or in anything at all in Mizoram.

    Waiting for the Plague

  • There were some, as it happened, who ventured to cross swords with him, but the result taught them that this stern-faced, black-bearded giant of a sahib was their master every whit as much as was Edwardes.

    John Nicholson The Lion of the Punjaub

  • I perceived within myself, saying, "He is disturbed, and listens to my advice with impatience;" and, having called the sahib diwan, or lord high treasurer, in virtue of a former intimacy that subsisted between us, I stated his case and spoke so fully upon his skill and merits, that he put him in nomination for a trifling office.

    The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2

  • And it appeared afterwards that during the night the Biluchis had recounted many fabulous incidents, all tending to show that the sahib was a very important as well as a very ingenious Firangi, so that this reputation, coupled with an offer of good pay, overcame any scruples the men might retain.

    In Clive's Command A Story of the Fight for India

  • Though an ardent supporter of empire, Kipling was in many ways an untypical "sahib," an individualist bent on exploring the forbidden, seamier side of the Punjab region for his fiction.

    Rudyard and the Raj

  • Hillary, known to the Sherpa people as Burra-sahib, meaning ` ` big in stature, big in heart, '' returned to Nepal many times to climb.

    Everest is alone, Hillary is no more

  • No "sahib", or downcast eyes, or humble tone, you notice.

    Flashman and the Mountain of Light

  • Desmond asked himself the question without much interest, and was again allowing his thoughts to rove when he caught the word "sahib," and then the word "Firangi" somewhat loudly spoken.

    In Clive's Command A Story of the Fight for India

  • All round the edge of the forest a continuous ring of wooden huts and white tents showed that the "sahib" on holiday intent had marked Gulmarg for his own.

    A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

  • She called him "sahib," dubbed him "father of a dozen stalwart sons," returned a few of his immodest compliments with a flattering laugh, and learned that Ali Partab was still busy in the caravansary.

    Rung Ho

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.