ule·ma | \ˌü-lə-ˈmä \
variants: or ulama

Definition of ulema 

1  plural in construction : the body of mullahs

2 : mullah

Examples of ulema in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Jokowi said the conference was part of Indonesia's efforts to encourage the role of Islamic clerics, or ulema, in promoting peace in Afghanistan. Fox News, "Muslim scholars: Suicide attacks violate Islamic principles," 11 May 2018 But there has been a definite uptick in the targeted killing of scholars — widely known as ulema — as the Taliban have intensified their offensives in the past two years, officials say. Mujib Mashal And Jawad Sukhanyar, New York Times, "Taliban Target: Scholars of Islam," 28 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ulema.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ulema

1688, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ulema

Arabic, Turkish, & Persian; Turkish & Persian ʽulemā, from Arabic ʽulamā

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ulema

Dictionary Entries near ulema








Statistics for ulema

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ulema

The first known use of ulema was in 1688

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on ulema

See words that rhyme with ulema

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ulema

Comments on ulema

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


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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