Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Begum, bégum, and Begüm


English Wikipedia has an article on:

Etymology 1[edit]

be- +‎ gum


begum (third-person singular simple present begums, present participle begumming, simple past and past participle begummed)

  1. (transitive) To daub or cover with gum.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Urdu بیگم‎ and Hindi बेगम (begam, lady), from East Turkic begüm,[1] from Beg (a provincial governor under the Ottoman Empire, a bey) + -um (feminine suffix for titles of nobility).[2] Compare with خانم (hanım).


begum (plural begums)

  1. a high-ranking Muslim woman, especially in India and Pakistan
    • 1850, Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Chapter 1,[1]
      He went to India with his capital, and there, according to a wild legend in our family, he was once seen riding on an elephant, in company with a Baboon; but I think it must have been a Baboo—or a Begum.
    • 1872, James De Mille, The Cryptogram[2], HTML edition, The Gutenberg Project, published 2009:
      She was the daughter of an English officer, who having fallen in love with an Indian Begum gave up home, country, and friends, and married her.
    • 2012, The Economist, Bangladesh: Out of the basket
      toxic politics dominated by the bitter infighting of the “battling begums” (the widow and daughter of former presidents, who lead the two main parties).
  2. the form of address for such a woman



  1. ^ "begüm." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2008.
  2. ^ Nişanyan, Sevan (2002–), “begüm”, in Nişanyan Sözlük