Definition of ayatollah in English:


Line breaks: aya|tol¦lah
Pronunciation: /ˌʌɪəˈtɒlə


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'.

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