• synonyms


noun, plural beys.
  1. a provincial governor in the Ottoman Empire.
  2. (formerly) a title of respect for Turkish dignitaries.
  3. (formerly) the title of the native ruler of Tunis or Tunisia.
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Origin of bey

1590–1600; < Turkish, by-form of earlier beg, Old Turkic beg subordinate chief, head of a clan, perhaps < a MChin word akin to Chinese bǎi hundred (Guangdong dial. baak)
Turkish beg.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bey


  1. (in the Ottoman Empire) a title given to senior officers, provincial governors, certain other officials or nobles, and (sometimes) Europeans
  2. (in modern Turkey) a title of address, corresponding to Mr
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Also called: beg

Word Origin

C16: Turkish: lord
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bey


"governor of a Turkish district," 1590s, from Turkish bey, a title of honor, the Osmanli equivalent of Turkish beg.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper