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bey(bā), general title of respect used by Turkish peoples since ancient times. Originally given to tribal leaders, it was later used by the Ottomans to denote a provincial ruler. At first the Ottoman beys were appointed, but by the 18th cent. the title had become hereditary. In Ottoman Egypt, the beys were descendants of the former Mamluk rulers.
(Turkic; Russian, bai), in Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, the Altai, and, in part, the Caucasus. Before the October Revolution, a rich man, major landowner, livestock owner, or moneylender. The bey appeared in the precapitalist period. Toward the beginning of the 20th century there also arose a stratum of bey who belonged to the urban trade and industrial bourgeoisie.
(Turkic—ruler, master, prince; equivalent to the Arabic emir), title of the tribal and later feudal aristocracy in the Near and Middle East. In Turkey, also a form of address since the second half of the 19th century; abolished in 1934. In Tunis a bey was hereditary ruler of the country from 1705 to 1957. In certain parts of Iran tribal leaders have the title of bey.
In the regions that are now part of the USSR, the word was first encountered in the 14th century when Khan Uzbek of the Golden Horde conferred the title of bey on the Mongolian feudal lords, the noeons, who accepted Islam. The title of bey could be acquired by inheritance or conferred. In the Caucasus members of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry) were called beys by the Turkic peoples. The word “bey” is placed after the name.