bedouin

play
noun, often capitalized bed·ou·in \ˈbe-də-wən, -dü-ən, ˈbed-wən\
variants: or less commonly

beduin

Definition of bedouin

plural

bedouin

or

bedouins

also

beduin

or

beduins

  1. :  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 Middle French bedoïn, from Arabic badawī desert dweller, from badw desert, desert dwellers


First Known Use: 14th century

Other Anthropology Terms



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).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to give up a position of power

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • winning-words-from-the-national-spelling-bee-logo
  • Which is the correct spelling of the winning word from 1988?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!