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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Dey \Dey\, n. [See Dairy.] A servant who has charge of the dairy; a dairymaid. [Obs.]


Dey \Dey\, n.; pl. Deys. [Turk. d[=a]i, orig., a maternal uncle, then a friendly title formerly given to middle-aged or old people, especially among the Janizaries; and hence, in Algiers, consecrated at length to the commanding officer of that corps, who frequently became afterward pasha or regent of that province; hence the European misnomer of dey, as applied to the latter: cf. F. dey.] The governor of Algiers; -- so called before the French conquest in 1830.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English dæge "female servant, housekeeper, maid," from Proto-Germanic *daigjon (cognates: Old Norse deigja "maid, female servant," Swedish deja "dairymaid"), from PIE *dheigh- "to form, build" (see dough). Now obsolete (though OED says, "Still in living use in parts of Scotland"), it forms the first element of dairy and the second of lady.\n

\nThe ground sense seems to be "kneader, maker of bread;" advancing by Old Norse deigja and Middle English daie to mean "female servant, woman employed in a house or on a farm." Dæge as "servant" is the second element in many surnames ending in -day (such as Faraday, and perhaps Doubleday "servant of the Twin," etc.).


1650s, "title of a military commander in Muslim north Africa," from Turkish dai "maternal uncle," a friendly title used of older men, especially by the Janissaries of Algiers of their commanding officers. There were also deys in Tunis and Tripoli.


Etymology 1 alt. (context UK dialectal Scotland English) A servant who has charge of the dairy; a dairymaid. n. (context UK dialectal Scotland English) A servant who has charge of the dairy; a dairymaid. Etymology 2

n. The title given to the ruler of the (now Algeria) under the Ottoman Empire. Etymology 3

pron. 1 (eye dialect of they from=African American Vernacular English English) 2 (eye dialect of there from=African American Vernacular English English)


Dey (Arabic: داي, from Turkishdayı) was the title given to the rulers of the Regency of Algiers ( Algeria), Tripoli, and Tunis under the Ottoman Empire from 1671 onwards. Twenty-nine deys held office from the establishment of the deylicate in Algeria until the French conquest in 1830.

The dey was chosen by local civilian, military, and religious leaders to govern for life and ruled with a high degree of autonomy from the Ottoman sultan. The main sources of his revenues were taxes on the agricultural population, religious tributes, and protection payments rendered by Corsairs, regarded as pirates who preyed on Mediterranean shipping. In the European part of the Ottoman Empire, in particular during its decline, leaders of the outlawed janissary and yamak troops sometimes acquired title of Dahi or Dahia, which is derived from Dey.

The dey was assisted in governing by a divan (ديوان) made up of the Chiefs of the Army and Navy, the Director of Shipping, the Treasurer-General and the Collector of Tributes.

The realm of the dey of Alger (Algiers) was divided into three provinces ( Constantine, Titteri and Mascara), each of which was administered by a bey (باي) whom he appointed.

The rule of the deys of Alger came to an end on 5 July 1830, when Hussein Dey (1765–1838) surrendered to invading French forces.

The last Dey of Tripoli was killed by Ahmed Karamanli, who established the eponymous Karamanli dynasty in 1711.

Dey (disambiguation)

Dey was the title given to the rulers of the Regency of Algiers and Tunis under the Ottoman Empire from 1671 onwards.

Dey may also refer to:

  • Dey (acronym for Dollar Euro Yen) - a proposed world currency
  • Dey (month), the 10th month of the Iranian calendar
Dey (month)

Dey is the tenth month of the Iranian calendar, marking the start of winter. It has thirty days, beginning in December and ending in January of the Gregorian Calendar.

The associated astrological sign in the tropical zodiac is Capricorn.

Usage examples of "dey".

In the first place they were wholly incompatible: the Vizier despised Omar Pasha as an illiterate brute and the Dey despised the Vizier as a cotquean, in spite of his numerous harem, his collection of guns and his status as an important shareholder in the larger associations of corsairs.

When dese poor white men went to de war, dey left deir little chillun and deir wives in de hands of de darkies dat was kind and de rich wives of our marsters to care fer.

Dey certainly haf deh lambs lined up right now for any vey Dey vont to twist id.

First der is dey fact you gant run out, dat dere is alreaty on deh Sugar vagon deh piggest load of chuicy suckers dat efer game in from deh suppurbs.

Ali Dey sat with folded legs upon the richly draped divan of the Deys of Algiers.

Ef I knowed whar to find em, deys some my white folkes lib in dis town.

De bery next night I ran away again but dis time I determined to make for de town in hopes ob getting on board an English ship, for I had heard from de oder slabes dat de English did not keep black men as slabes, but dat, on de contry, dey did what dey could to stop de Spanish from getting dem away from Africa, and I understood now dat de dreful noise we had heard on de first day we were on board ship was an attack upon our vessel by an English cruiser.

One word fotch on nudder twel it look like dey wuz gwineter be a free fight, a rumpus, en a riot.

Rabs frisk en frolic, en play fudder off, but dey keep der years primed.

He said his haid hurt when dey went to eat dinner and he slept all the evening.

Dem Klux wud cotch er nigger dat dey want en pin he haid down ter de groun wid er forked stick en one wud hold him whilst de others whip im wid er strop er a lash.

I wek little latah lak as usal do, if dey is one singel idee in mah haid how to git Jodie widout steelin I gonna let tings drif twell dawn an wuhk out de idee.

Oh, dey would mix up a batter just like dey was gwine make a hoecake en wrap it all up in oak leaves or a piece of dis here heavy brown paper en lay it in de hot ashes.

Dey jowered en jowered, en bimeby, Dey hatter leave it all ter Brer Rabbit.

Joe McWhorter and his wife, Miss Emily Key, owned us, and dey was jus' as good to us as dey could be.