noun, often capitalized
\ i-ˈmäm, ē-, -ˈmam \

Definition of imam 

1 : the prayer leader of a mosque
2 : a Muslim leader of the line of Ali held by Shiites to be the divinely appointed, sinless, infallible successors of Muhammad
3 : any of various rulers that claim descent from Muhammad and exercise spiritual and temporal leadership over a Muslim region

Examples of imam in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But the imam who works with Muslim inmates in the program belongs to another denomination of the faith. Kathleen Foody, The Seattle Times, "1993 World Trade Center bomber sues over prison faith rights," 28 Aug. 2018 At the Al-Manaar mosque, imams lacked training to deal with traumatised people, so the mosque brought in counsellors used to dealing with Muslim clients, says Abdurahman Sayed, head of the trust that runs the mosque. The Economist, "Grenfell’s long shadow," 9 June 2018 The center was bombed just before morning prayers when the attackers broke a window to the imam’s office and threw a pipe bomb containing black powder inside, sparking a fire that caused extensive damage. David Crary, The Seattle Times, "Bomb scare rattles those touched by past political violence," 27 Oct. 2018 The House of Saud has remained the country’s ruling family for over eight decades through an alliance with imams who adhere to a strain of Islam known as Wahabbism. Michael Amon And, WSJ, "Push to Execute Saudi Clerics Rattles Kingdom’s Power Structure," 16 Sep. 2018 Speaking to public broadcaster ORF Friday, ATIB's Austria spokesperson confirmed that the organization is financed from abroad but said this was necessary because of the lack of training opportunities for imams in Austria. Nadine Schmidt And Judith Vonberg, CNN, "Austria to close seven mosques, expel imams," 8 June 2018 Hussain was a central player in an FBI sting targeting an Albany pizza shop owner and an imam who were convicted of money laundering and conspiring to aid a terrorist group. Tom Hays, The Seattle Times, "Limo company owner was a controversial FBI informant," 9 Oct. 2018 Other provocative Benetton advertisements by Mr. Toscani include a nun kissing a priest, an AIDS patient on his deathbed and Pope Benedict XVI kissing an Egyptian imam. Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times, "Benetton ‘Migrants’ Ads Draw Outrage for Using Photos of Real Migrants," 21 June 2018 The minor, an Italian citizen of Algerian heritage, has been ordered by a juvenile court to undergo a process of de-radicalization, working with the boy's family, psychologists and an imam. Fox News, "Italian police order de-radicalization process for teen," 7 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imam.' 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 imam

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for imam

Arabic imām

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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The first known use of imam was in 1613

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English Language Learners Definition of imam

: a Muslim religious leader

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imam

Britannica English: Translation of imam for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about imam

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