noun, often capitalized
\ i-ˈmäm How to pronounce imam (audio) , ē-, -ˈmam How to pronounce imam (audio) \

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

On June 5th robed representatives of more conventional faiths, including a rabbi and an imam as well as many Protestant churches, came to the courthouse in Tucson to show their solidarity. The Economist, "The gripping case of Scott Warren," 14 June 2019 When the court ruled 5-4 in February to permit a Muslim inmate's execution in Alabama without allowing an imam to provide spiritual support in the execution chamber. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Conservative gains at Supreme Court leading to anger, frustration and 'peeks behind the curtain'," 9 June 2019 Barlow was a prison imam for 40 years at various state prisons, organizing prayers and holiday feasts, consoling men in mourning, seeking to live as a spiritual inspiration. Samantha Melamed,, "The last death-row inmate at Eastern State Penitentiary returns after 50 years in prison," 6 June 2019 The Court allowed the execution of a Muslim prisoner in Alabama to go ahead without an imam with him. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "When a Prisoner Is Executed," 11 Apr. 2019 Image When an imam and his assistant were gunned down on a Queens street two summers ago, investigators and members of the largely Bangladeshi Muslim community who followed the spiritual leaders were left grasping for answers. New York Times, "Imam’s Killer Is Sentenced, but Motive Remains a Mystery," 6 June 2018 Lawyers for Abdi, an imam and U.S. citizen, said the screening is more than an inconvenience. Washington Post, "Judge tosses lawsuit by Utah imam involving no-fly listing," 24 Apr. 2018 Alabama offered no concrete evidence of any security issues related to having an imam inside the room where Ray was executed. Luke Goodrich, WSJ, "The Supreme Court Isn’t Anti-Muslim," 12 Feb. 2019 Two imams are already facing immediate deportation. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "Austria to Close Mosques, Expel Imams in Crackdown on Political Islam," 8 June 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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Statistics for imam

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imam

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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incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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