A member of a traditionally matrilineal Hindu ruling caste in Kerala, India. Formerly also in extended use.
Of or relating to the Nairs.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Nicholas Lichefield (fl. 1582). From Portuguese naire from Malayalam nāyar members of ruling caste, soldiers in general, plural of nāyaṉ leader from Sanskrit nāya from nī- to lead.