1In South Asia: a lord, prince, or governor; a nobleman.
2An officer or corporal in a corps of Indian or Nepalese troops. In extended use: an Indian or Nepalese team leader in a mountaineering expedition, etc.
Late 16th century. Partly from Tamil nāyakaṉ, and partly from Malayalam nāyakaṉ, both from Sanskrit nāyaka guide, leader, chief from nī- to lead.