from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Islam A religious official.
  • n. Islam A leader of an Arab family or village.
  • n. Islam Used as a form of address for such an official or leader.
  • n. Slang A romantically alluring man.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The leader of an Arab village, family or small tribe.
  • n. An Islamic religious clergy; the leader of an Islamic religious order.
  • n. An official title for members of the royal family as well as some prominent families.
  • n. A romantic lover. (Can we date this quote?) (from The Sheikh, 1921 film)
  • n. An Arab, especially one dressed in traditional clothing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The head of an Arab family, or of a clan or a tribe; also, the chief magistrate of an Arab village. The name is also applied to Mohammedan ecclesiastics of a high grade.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Arabia and other Mohammedan countries, an old man; an elder.
  • n. A religious chief among Mohammedans; a title of learned or devout men; master.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the leader of an Arab village or family
  • n. a man who is much concerned with his dress and appearance


Arabic šayḫ, old man, chief, from šāḫa, to grow old; see śyḫ in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Arabic شيخ (šaykh), from شاخ (šākha, "to age, grow old"). (Wiktionary)


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