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Sheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh or Shekh — is an honorific in the Arabic language. It means "elder" and has the meaning "leader and/or governor". It is commonly used for the front man of a tribe. It can be an Islamic scholar who got this title after graduating from the basic Islamic school. Sheikha is the female term. These are uncommon in the Arabic world. A sheikh who is wise is called ḥakīm and can rule.

It also is generally for a man over forty[1] or fifty[2] years of age.


In Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, "Sheikh" is a common surname among Muslims. It generally means there is Arab ancestry.