Sun·​ni ˈsu̇(n)-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce Sunni (audio)
: the Muslims of the branch of Islam that adheres to the orthodox tradition and acknowledges the first four caliphs as rightful successors of Muhammad compare shia
: a Sunni Muslim
Sunni adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The region where the attack took place is known for conflict between Sunni and Shia sects of Islam. Sophia Saifi, CNN, 4 May 2023 He was born in the provincial town of Tunceli, which is mostly populated by Alevis, members of a Muslim minority that has historically been discriminated against by Turkey’s Sunni Muslim majority. Ahmet T. Kuru, The Conversation, 25 Apr. 2023 Saudi Arabia and Iran, the leading Sunni and Shi’ite powers in the Middle East, ended peaceful relations in 2016 after the execution of a Shi’ite cleric, followed by disagreements resulting from the Yemen war. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 6 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Sunni.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Arabic sunnī, from sunna

First Known Use

1595, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Sunni was in 1595

Dictionary Entries Near Sunni

Cite this Entry

“Sunni.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


Sun·​ni ˈsu̇n-(n)ē How to pronounce Sunni (audio)
plural Sunnis or Sunni
: one of the two main branches of Islam
: a Muslim who is a member of the Sunni branch of Islam

More from Merriam-Webster on Sunni

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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