noun, often capitalized
\ ˈshä How to pronounce shah (audio) , ˈshȯ\

Definition of shah

: a sovereign of Iran

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Other Words from shah

shahdom \ ˈshä-​dəm How to pronounce shahdom (audio) , ˈshȯ-​ \ noun

Examples of shah in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew the shah caused ties to cool until the mid-1980s. Jon Gambrell, Fox News, "Iran looks warily to China for help as US sanctions resume," 12 Sep. 2018 In 1977, Princess Shams Pahlavi, older sister of the shah of Iran, acquired the current property, an assemblage of 17 lots, through proxies. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "An Empty Lot Above Beverly Hills Is the Most Expensive Real Estate in the World," 17 Jan. 2019 In the 1970s, the U.S. considered selling the shah of Iran 23 reactors. Jamie Fly And, WSJ, "Khashoggi’s Killing Should Be a Nuclear Red Flag," 28 Oct. 2018 Rather than abandoning the project of nationalism inherited from the shah, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has extended it, expressing nationalist ideas through religious precepts and values. Shervin Malekzadeh, Washington Post, "What Trump doesn’t get about ideology in Iran. It’s about nationalism, not theocracy.," 25 June 2018 Yet the 1979 revolution, which overthrew the shah, was bound to disappoint a public clamoring for democracy. Reuel Marc Gerecht And, WSJ, "Don’t Fear Regime Change in Iran," 11 June 2018 But the 1979 Islamic Revolution ousting the shah ended that. Sarah El Deeb,, "Iran and Israel are shooting at each other in Syria. Why?," 12 May 2018 The shah, propped up by the Americans, had fled a month earlier. Michael S. Rosenwald, Washington Post, "‘How can you trust these people?’ The brutal ordeal of America’s forgotten Iranian hostage.," 11 May 2018 By organizing oil strikes before the 1979 Iranian Revolution that slowed energy production to a trickle, Iran’s workers swept away economic supports of the ruling shah and helped ensure the success of the uprising. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Labor Strikes and Worker Protests Erupt Across Iran: ‘This is Slavery’," 6 May 2018

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

1566, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shah

Persian shāh king — more at check

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Statistics for shah

Last Updated

3 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shah

The first known use of shah was in 1566

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English Language Learners Definition of shah

: a king of Iran in past times

More from Merriam-Webster on shah

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shah Encyclopedia article about shah

Comments on shah

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


to corrupt or become corrupted

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