AskDefine | Define emir

Dictionary Definition

emir n : an independent ruler or chieftain (especially in Africa or Arabia) [syn: amir, emeer, ameer]

User Contributed Dictionary



(amir), commander, prince.


  1. a prince, commander or other leader or ruler in an Islamic nation.


  • Persian: (amir)

Alternative spellings

Derived terms





Extensive Definition

Emir (Arabic: ; , , (Persian/Urdu: امیر ) "commander" or "general", also "prince" ; also transliterated as amir, aamir or ameer) is a high title of nobility or office, used in Arabic nations of the Middle East and North Africa, and historically, in some Turkic states. While emir is the predominant spelling in English and many other languages, amir, closer to the original Arabic, is more common for its numerous compounds (e.g., admiral) and in individual names. Spelling thus differs depending on the sources consulted.


Amir, meaning "chieftain" or "commander", is derived from the Arabic root , "command". Originally simply meaning commander or leader, usually in reference to a group of people, it came to be used as a title of governors or rulers, usually in smaller states, and in modern Arabic usually renders the English word "prince." The word entered English in 1595, from the French émir. It was one of the titles or names of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Princely, ministerial and noble titles

From the start, Emir has been a military title, roughly meaning "general" or "commander."
The Western naval rank "admiral" comes from the Arabic naval title amir al-bahr, general at sea, which has been used for naval commanders and occasionally the Ministers of Marine.
In certain decimally-organized Muslim armies, Amir was an officer rank; e.g. in Mughal India Amirs commanded 1000 horsemen (divided into ten units, each under a Sipah salar), ten of them under one Malik. In the imperial army of Qajar Persia:
  • Amir-i-Nuyan, Lieutenant general
  • Amir Panj, "Commander of 5,000" (Brigadier general)
  • Amir-i-Tuman, "Commander of 10,000' (Major general)
  • Amir ul-Umara, "Amir of Amirs" (cfr. supra) or 'Commander of Commanders'
  • Amir Yavarianfar, "Supreme Amir"
In the former Kingdom of Afghanistan, Amir-i-Kabir was a title meaning "great prince" or "great commander."

Other uses

  • Amir-i-Il designates the head of an Il (tribe) in imperial Persia.
  • Amir is a Jewish name. Emir is also a common Muslim male name for Arab and non-Arab Muslims (Bosnia, Iran), taken from Arabic just as the Western name Rex ("king") is borrowed from Latin. In Bosnia and Herzegovina female-name Emira – often interpreted as "princess" – is a derivative of male-name Emir.

Islamic titles

Emirs in fiction

Sources and references

  • WorldStatesmen Here Religious Organisations - see also many present Muslim countries
emir in Arabic: أمير
emir in Belarusian: Эмір
emir in Catalan: Emir
emir in Czech: Emír
emir in Danish: Emir
emir in German: Emir
emir in Spanish: Emir
emir in Esperanto: Emiro
emir in Persian: امیر
emir in French: Émir
emir in Galician: Emir
emir in Korean: 아미르
emir in Indonesian: Emir
emir in Italian: Emiro
emir in Hebrew: אמיר
emir in Georgian: ამირა
emir in Latin: Amiralis
emir in Latvian: Emīrs
emir in Lithuanian: Emyras
emir in Hungarian: Emír
emir in Dutch: Emir
emir in Japanese: アミール
emir in Norwegian: Emir
emir in Norwegian Nynorsk: Emir
emir in Polish: Emir
emir in Portuguese: Emir
emir in Romanian: Emir
emir in Russian: Эмир
emir in Swedish: Emir
emir in Ukrainian: Емір
emir in Chinese: 埃米爾

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Esquire, Great Mogul, Master, Mister, Mogul, Muslim rulers, Prinz, Sir, atheling, caliph, cham, crown prince, effendi, hakim, heir apparent, heir presumptive, imam, khan, king, knez, mirza, nawab, nizam, prince, prince consort, prince regent, princeling, princes of India, sahib, shahzada, sheikh, sherif, sirdar, sire, sirrah, sultan
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1