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Definitions

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

  • n. A provincial governor in the Ottoman Empire.
  • n. A ruler of the former kingdom of Tunis.
  • n. Used as the title for such a ruler.
  • n. Used formerly as a title for various Turkish and Egyptian dignitaries.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A governor of a province or district in the Turkish dominions; also, in some places, a prince or nobleman; a beg.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A governor of a province or district in the Turkish dominions; also, in some places, a prince or nobleman; a beg.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The governor of a minor province or sanjak of the Turkish empire.
  • n. A title of respect given in Turkey to members of princely families, sons of pashas, military officers above the rank of major, the wealthy gentry, and, by courtesy, to eminent foreigners.
  • n. The title usually given by foreigners to the former Mohammedan rulers of Tunis. Frequently written beg.
  • A Middle English form of buy.

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

  • n. the governor of a district or province in the Ottoman Empire
  • n. (formerly) a title of respect for a man in Turkey or Egypt

Etymologies

Turkish, from Old Turkic beg, ruler, prince.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Turkish bey (“gentleman, chief”), from Old Turkic bég (“head of a clan, subordinate chief”) (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "...first Allen and then Graham explained that in the outlying provinces of the Turkish empire the valis, pashas, agas and beys, though in principle subject to the Sultan, often behaved like independent rulers, increasing their territories by usurpation or by making open war upon one another..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 260-261

    February 14, 2008