ayatollah

noun
aya·​tol·​lah | \ ˌī-ə-ˈtō-lə How to pronounce ayatollah (audio) , -ˈtä- How to pronounce ayatollah (audio) , -ˈtə-, ˈī-ə-ˌtō-, -ˌtä-, -ˌtə- \

Definition of ayatollah

: a religious leader among Shiite Muslims used as a title of respect especially for one who is not an imam

Examples of ayatollah in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There is speculation that Raisi, who is a cleric but not an ayatollah, may be on the road to getting fast-tracked for the top job once the supreme leader passes on. Amy Kellogg, Fox News, 26 May 2021 At one point in their 40-minute meeting, the pope gingerly cradled the ayatollah’s two hands in his own as al-Sistani leaned in speaking, according to footage aired on Lebanon’s LBC. Nicole Winfield And Qassim Abdul-zahra, chicagotribune.com, 6 Mar. 2021 Inside, and some steps to the right, the pontiff will come face to face with the ayatollah. Star Tribune, 3 Mar. 2021 The aging ayatollah, who underwent surgery for a fractured thigh last year, looked tired. Nicole Winfield And Qassim Abdul-zahra, chicagotribune.com, 6 Mar. 2021 The aging ayatollah, who underwent surgery for a fractured thigh last year, looked tired. Nicole Winfield And Qassim Abdul-zahra, Star Tribune, 6 Mar. 2021 If Generalísimo Franco had been an ayatollah, there would have been a fatwa. John Mcphee, The New Yorker, 12 Apr. 2021 Their meeting in al-Sistani’s humble home, the first ever between a pope and a grand ayatollah, was months in the making, with every detail painstakingly negotiated beforehand. Fox News, 8 Mar. 2021 Their meeting in al-Sistani’s humble home, the first ever between a pope and a grand ayatollah, was months in the making, with every detail painstakingly negotiated beforehand. Fox News, 8 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ayatollah.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ayatollah

1950, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ayatollah

Persian āyatollāh, literally, sign of God, from Arabic āyatallāh, from āya sign, miracle + allāh God

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Time Traveler for ayatollah

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The first known use of ayatollah was in 1950

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Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ayatollah.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ayatollah. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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Nglish: Translation of ayatollah for Spanish Speakers

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