From Old Khmer វ្រះ (vraḥ, “to be holy, sacred, divine; celestial or holy being”), of disputed origin. Jenner suggests derivation from Old Khmer រះ (raḥ, “to shine”) with prefix w, potentially a calque of Sanskrit श्री (śrī, “[diffusing light or radiance; splendid; radiant; beautifying; adorning”).
Most dictionaries attribute the source of the Old Khmer as ultimately Sanskrit वर (vara, “best; excellent; foremost; holy; precious; top; valuable; etc”), although some authors maintain that it is an autochthonous Mon-Khmer word, for example Shorto (2006), who reconstructed Proto-Mon-Khmer *brah (“divine being”). Pain (2014) disagreed with both theories, proposing that the Old Khmer originates as a reduced form of Sanskrit ब्राह्मण (brāhmaṇa, “relating to a Brahmin; divine”).
ព្រះ • (prĕəh)
- Thai: พระ (prá)
- ទេវ (teiveaʔ)
- ^ http://sealang.net/api/api.pl?query=vrah&service=dictionary&language=oldkhmer
- ^ Frederic Pain (2014), “Brāhmaṇa as an honorific in ’Indianized’ Southeast Asia: A Linguistic Approach”, on Archive Ouverte HAL.