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Mahārāja (also spelled maharajah) is a Sanskrit title for a "great king" or "high king".[1] The female equivalent title Maharani (or Maharanee) denotes either the wife of a Mahārāja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The widow of a maharajah is known as a Rajmata.[2] The term Maharaj denotes separate noble and religious offices, although the fact that in Hindi the suffix 'a' in Maharaja is silent makes the two titles near homophones.



The word Maharaja originates in the Sanskrit language and is a compound karmadharaya term (from mahānt "great" and rājan "king"). It has the Latin cognates (accusative case) magnum ("great") and rēgem ("king").[3][4] Due to Sanskrit's major influence on the vocabulary of most languages in India and Asia, the term 'maharaja' is common to many modern Indian languages, such as Hindi, Telugu, Oriya, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujrati, etc. The sanskrit title maharaja was originally used only for kings who ruled a considerabally large region with minor tributary kings under them. But from the medivials the title was used even by rulers of smaller states since they claimed to be the descendents of the ancient maharajas.

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3rd millennium BC