\ ˈshēk How to pronounce sheikh (audio) also ˈshāk for sense 1\
variants: or sheik

Definition of sheikh

1 : an Arab chief
2 usually sheik : a man held to be irresistibly attractive to romantic young women

Examples of sheikh in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The last big one centered on Jane Digby, who was born at Holkham in 1807 (her mother was a Coke) and ran off in pursuit of a series of lovers, including a Bavarian king, a Greek count, a Thessalian general, and a Syrian sheikh 20 years her junior. Simon Usborne, Town & Country, "How Rumors of a Feud Between Kate Middleton and Rose Cholmondeley Captivated a Posh Corner of Britain," 5 Aug. 2019 He was contacted to say a Qatari sheikh wanted to buy a racehorse. Matt Majendie, CNN, "Sheikh Fahad and the phone call that changed horse racing," 12 Aug. 2019 Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political leadership, said that the Palestinian people would continue to stand beside the sheikh. Washington Post, "Son of Hamas leader calls the militant movement a ‘racist terror organization’," 5 July 2019 The sheikh, who is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates in addition to being the ruler of Dubai, is among the most influential figures in the Middle East. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Dubai ruler's wife, Princess Haya, goes into hiding in UK and hires divorce lawyer: report," 5 July 2019 Some Bedouin sheikhs look to Prince Hamzah, the king’s half-brother, who was removed as heir apparent in 2004 to make way for the king’s son. The Economist, "King Abdullah of Jordan fears that old allies are ditching him," 6 June 2019 The princess, who shares her husband’s love of horses and competed with the Jordanian equestrian team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, did not flee from the sheikh in the way the other women did. Washington Post, "Dubai’s Princess Haya wants protection from the glitzy city’s ruler. She’s not the first.," 31 July 2019 The couple married in 2004, with Princess Haya then becoming the sheikh’s sixth and youngest wife. Julia Webster, Time, "Princess Haya, Wife of Dubai's Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, Is Reportedly Seeking Protection in London," 3 July 2019 Princess Haya, the most visible and glamorous of the sheikh’s reported six wives, has left him. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, "Another Dubai Princess Defects. Anguished Poetry Ensues.," 2 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sheikh.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sheikh

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sheikh

Arabic shaykh

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Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for sheikh

The first known use of sheikh was in 1577

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More Definitions for sheikh



English Language Learners Definition of sheikh

: an Arab chief, ruler, or prince
: a leader of a Muslim organization or group


variants: or sheik \ ˈshēk , ˈshāk \

Kids Definition of sheikh

1 : an Arab chief
2 : a leader of a Muslim group

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More from Merriam-Webster on sheikh

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sheikh

Spanish Central: Translation of sheikh

Nglish: Translation of sheikh for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sheikh for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sheikh

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readily or continually undergoing change

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