Definition of Shia in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈSHēˌä/
(also Shi'a, Shiah)

noun (plural same or Shias)

1One of the two main branches of Islam, followed especially in Iran, that rejects the first three Sunni caliphs and regards Ali, the fourth caliph, as Muhammad’s first true successor. Compare with Sunni.
Example sentences
  • They are divided into two main groups, Shia and Sunni, with different interpretations of the religion.
  • His father, Ali, met a similar fate 19 years earlier, and it was this latter deed that gave rise to the great fissure in Islam between Sunni and Shia.
  • It will be drawn from Sunni and Shia, from secular and religious backgrounds, from trade unionists and women's organisations.
1.1A Muslim who adheres to the Shia branch of Islam.
Example sentences
  • For Islam, Sunnis and Shi'as will also be considered as separate groups.
  • Relations between Shias and Sunnis have been strained for much of Muslim history.
  • He stressed that today there was an immediate need for unity between Shias and Sunnis.


Early 17th century: from Arabic šīʿa 'party (of Ali)'.

Words that rhyme with Shia

Achaea, aliyah, Almería, Apia, Bahía, Caesarea, Cassiopeia, Chaldea, Cytherea, Euboea, foreseer, freer, galleria, gynaecea, Iphigenia, Kampuchea, kea, keyer, Latakia, Leah, Lucia, Nicaea, Nicosia, onomatopoeia, Oriya, osteria, Pangaea, Pantelleria, pharmacopoeia, pizzeria, ria, rupiah, sangría, seer, sharia, skier, spiraea (US spirea), Tanzania, taqueria, Tarpeia, Thea, trachea, trattoria, urea

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Shi·a

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