One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In Arabic-speaking countries: a chief, headman, or leader, especially of descendants of the prophet Muhammad.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Robert Heron (1764–1807), journalist and author. From Arabic naqīb (plural nuqabā') chief of a tribe or other group or community, marshal of the sharifs from naqaba to scrutinize, verify.
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