Definition of Safavid in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /säˈfäwēd/


A member of a dynasty that ruled Persia 1502–1736 and installed Shia rather than Sunni Islam as the state religion.
Example sentences
  • In specifically religious terms the Safavids not only persecuted Sunni Muslims, but Shi'ites with different views, and all other religions.
  • The establishment of the Shi'a faith as the official religion brought the Safavids into conflict with the Sunni Ottomans.
  • The Shiite Safavids ruled Iraq in the late 1500s and early 1600s under Shah Abbas.


Relating to the Safavid dynasty.
Example sentences
  • This capital of the 17th century Safavid dynasty can keep a visitor in awe for days.
  • This distinction between the Alavid and the Safavid versions of Shi'ism was emphasized by Dr. Ali Shari'ati.
  • The entrance portal is a supreme example of styles from Safavid architecture displaying sumptuous tilework, calligraphy, complex stalactite mouldings and expert use of colour and scale, dwarfing the visitor.


From Arabic ṣafawī 'descended from the ruler Sophy'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Sa·fa·vid

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.