A high-ranking religious leader among Shiite Muslims, especially in Iran.
More example sentences
- The chief ayatollah of the Shiite Muslims in Iraq says he wants direct democratic elections to take place.
- The same applies to Protestant and Orthodox Christian leaders, the Dalai Lama, the Muslim ayatollahs, Jewish rabbinical councils, and all other modern-day religious patriarchs.
- Najaf is the seat of the Shi'ite's ayatollahs, or spiritual leaders.
1950s: from Persian, from Arabic 'āyatu-llāh, literally 'token of God'.