So long as your geography isn’t too bad, you probably won’t struggle with typical clues for this one: [Arab dignitary], [Dubai leader], or [Qatar bigwig].
The province or state over which an emir presides is often referred to as an EMIRATE. You’ve probably heard of the United Arab Emirates, for example. If you’ve been there, you may have even flown with the airline known as Emirates! (A native of an emirate is often referred to as an Emirati, but don’t expect to get away with that one on the Scrabble board.)
Today’s word has a bunch of variant spellings, including AMIR (which is actually closest to the original), followed by EMEER and AMEER. Furthermore, all variants allow the -ate extension, a symmetry not always respected by dictionaries. So you’re getting quite a few words for the price of one today ;-)
Actually, Islamic culture has always been a wonderful source of Scrabbly titles, with others you might want to investigate including the SHEIKH (pronounced /shake/, so always a goodie for spelling bees), CALIPH, MIRZA, VIZIER, IMAM, WAZIR, and (my favorite Y-dump) the SAYYID, along with the plethora of variant spellings the process of transliteration has bred.
One Muslim title that entertained me this morning comes from the Persian word Amirzade, which refers to the male descendant of an amir (with the -zade part having to do with ‘birth’).
It turns out that when this word is spoken, the emphasis is on the bit I’ve bolded in Amirzadi. And this is where the lovely word MIRZA (a Muslim prince by blood) comes from. (Incidentally, I thought its anagram, ZIRAM, might belong in today’s story too, but alas, it is a type of chemical salt or something.)
DISCLAIMER: I am not, and have never (in any sober context at least ) claimed to be, an etymologist, linguist, lexicologist, or other professional associated with the scholarly study of words. In fact, if I’m to believe what my friends tell me, I’m not a professional at anything.