variants: or Shia or Shiah \ ˈshē(ˌ)ä , -​ēə \
plural -s

Definition of Shiʽa

1 : the Muslims of the branch of Islam comprising sects believing in Ali and the Imams as the only rightful successors of Muhammad and in the concealment and messianic return of the last recognized Imam — compare sunni
2 : shiʽite
3 : the branch of Islam formed by the Shiʽa

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First Known Use of Shiʽa

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Shiʽa

Arabic shīʽah following, sect

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The first known use of Shiʽa was in 1626

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Cite this Entry

“Shiʽa.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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