ji·​had | \ ji-ˈhäd How to pronounce jihad (audio) , chiefly British -ˈhad \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of jihad

1 : a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty also : a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline
2 : a crusade for a principle or belief

Examples of jihad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In a 17-minute audio message, one elderly Taliban ideologue voiced concern that negotiators were about to sign away the right to jihad, considered an important pillar in Islam. New York Times, "In Afghanistan’s War and Peace, WhatsApp Delivers the Message," 26 Oct. 2019 Prosecutors said Damache sought to recruit light-skinned women and others who did not fit the traditional terrorist profile to wage jihad. Claudia Lauer, The Seattle Times, "Algerian tied to cartoonist death plot guilty of terrorism," 23 July 2018 But the City of Denver’s little jihad against fledging entrepreneurs, like those who do short-term rentals of their property, isn’t about noisy guests. Jon Caldara, The Denver Post, "Caldara: Denver’s war against people and their houseguests, via AirBNB," 6 Sep. 2019 White supremacy, like Islamist jihad, is a global problem. Mary B. Mccord, Twin Cities, "Mary B. McCord: White nationalist killers are terrorists. We should fight them like terrorists.," 13 Aug. 2019 There is something insincere about claiming to offer an explanation of today’s terrorism and jihad problem but telling only one side of the story. Bartle Bull, WSJ, "‘Crusade and Jihad’ Review: Conquest and Conquerors," 26 Aug. 2018 That is when al-Qaeda was encouraged to make Afghanistan the headquarters of its global anti-American jihad. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Losing the War in Forgotten Afghanistan," 10 Aug. 2019 Emwazi was drifting after university, in search of meaning for his life, and jihad gave him a higher purpose. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Jihadi John, Domestic Terrorist," 6 Aug. 2019 Often, many people conflate the terms jihad and terrorism. Mohammad Hassan Khalil, The Conversation, "So, what really is jihad?," 20 June 2019

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

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jihad

Arabic jihād

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Time Traveler for jihad

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The first known use of jihad was in 1837

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Statistics for jihad

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Jihad.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jihad. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for jihad


How to pronounce jihad (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of jihad

: a war fought by Muslims to defend or spread their beliefs

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More from Merriam-Webster on jihad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jihad

Spanish Central: Translation of jihad

Nglish: Translation of jihad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jihad for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jihad

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