Definition of bey in US English:



  • 1The governor of a district or province in the Ottoman Empire.

    • ‘For the next 1,300 years, a succession of Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman caliphs, beys, and sultans ruled the country.’
    • ‘The bey then called for French support, and three French columns, totalling some 35,000 men, were deployed.’
    • ‘Tunisia was ruled by the Husseini dynasty of beys from 1705 to 1957.’
    • ‘The various beys and pashas who ruled these states paid substantial sums annually to the Sultan.’
    • ‘Tunisia was declared a Protectorate and, by the middle of 1882, the entire region had been brought under French military authority with a French Resident installed alongside the traditional ruler, the bey.’
    1. 1.1 Formerly used in Turkey and Egypt as a courtesy title.
      • ‘If he was awake and saw me he would spring up, bow low and kiss my hand, enquiring politely after Bulent Bey Efendi and myself.’
      • ‘The wife of Hâfiz Bey, my friend, lies near to death!’


Turkish, modern form of beg ‘prince, governor’.