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Among Arabic-speaking tribes, especially Bedouin, the male head of the family, as well as of each successively larger social unit making up the tribal structure. The sheikh is generally assisted by an informal tribal council of male elders. Within the broader Arabic-speaking community, the word may also be used as a title or form of respectful address or to designate a religious authority. Its significance may vary from region to region.
Variants of SHEIKH
sheikh or shaykh
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sheikh, visit Britannica.com.