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See also: Begum, bégum, and Begüm


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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
    • 1872, James De Mille, The Cryptogram[1], 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