- Also shaikh, sheikh. (in Islamic countries) the patriarch of a tribe or family; chief: a term of polite address.
- Slang. a man held to be masterful and irresistibly charming to women.
noun (in Muslim countries)
- the head of an Arab tribe, village, etc
- a venerable old man
- a high priest or religious leader, esp a Sufi master
n.“head of an Arab family,” also “head of a Muslim religious order,” 1570s, from Arabic shaykh “chief,” literally “old man,” from base of shakha “to grow old.” Popularized by “The Sheik,” novel in Arabian setting by E.M. Hull (1919), and the movie version, “The Sheikh,” 1921, starring Rudolph Valentino, which gave it a 1920s sense of “strong, romantic lover.”