1. A provincial governor in the Ottoman Empire.
a. A ruler of the former kingdom of Tunis.
b. Used as the title for such a ruler.
3. Used formerly as a title for various Turkish and Egyptian dignitaries.
[Turkish; akin to Old Turkic beg, chieftain, lord, perhaps of Middle Iranian origin (akin to Old Persian baga-, god, and Sanskrit bhagaḥ, gracious dispenser of wealth, lord, good fortune; see BHAGAVAD-GITA), or from Middle Chinese pεjk, lord, father's elder brother (source of Mandarin bó; from Old Chinese prâk, elder, clan head).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.