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large island southeast of India (known in English until 1972 as Ceylon), from Lanka, older name for the island and its chief city + Sanskrit sri "beauty" (especially of divinities, kings, heroes, etc.), also an honorific prefix to proper names, from PIE root *kreie- "to be outstanding, brilliant, masterly, beautiful" (cf. Greek kreon "lord, master").
Note: A British colony since 1796, the island became independent in 1948.