ayatollah

noun aya·tol·lah \ ˌī-ə-ˈtō-lə , -ˈtä- , -ˈtə- , ˈī-ə-ˌ \
Updated on: 10 Feb 2018

Definition of ayatollah

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

Recent Examples of ayatollah from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of ayatollah

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

Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ayatollah? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to blend or mix together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-dog-in-snow-jumping-to-grab-a-heart-shaped-balloon-the-snow-and-heart-balloon-indicate-that-the-month-being-represented-is-april-and-the-dog-is-just-kinda-cute
  • Which is a synonym of sanguine?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!