Definition of bedouin
: a nomadic Arab of the Arabian, Syrian, or northern African deserts
Did You Know?
Arabic-speaking desert nomads of the Middle East are known as bedouin. Ethnically, the bedouin are identical to other Arabs. Bedouin social rank is determined by the animals they herd: camel nomads are most prestigious, followed by sheep and goat herders, and finally cattle nomads. Traditionally, bedouin migrated into the desert during the rainy season and returned to cultivated areas during the dry season, but since World War II some national governments have nationalized their range lands and conflicts over land use have arisen, and many groups have settled. Most, however, retain pride in their nomadic heritage.
Origin and Etymology of bedouin
Middle English Bedoyne, from Medieval French bedoïn, from Arabic badawī desert dweller, from badw desert, desert dwellers
First Known Use: 14th century
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up bedouin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).