Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to ayatollah: Ayatollah Khomeini
1. A high-ranking Shiite religious authority regarded as worthy of imitation in matters of religious law and interpretation.
2. Used as a title for such a leader.
(Islam) one of a class of Iranian Shiite religious leaders
[via Persian from Arabic, from aya sign + Allah god]
a•ya•tol•lah(ˌɑ yəˈtoʊ lə)
1. a title for a Shi‘ite cleric with advanced knowledge of Islamic law.
2. any person in a position of great power or authority.
[1975–80; < Persian < Arabic āyat allāh sign of God; compare Allah]
This is a title held by the highest religious leaders of the Shiite sect. Ayatollahs guide Shiites in spiritual and worldly matters. An ayatollah can become the leader of the nation.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||ayatollah - a high-ranking Shiite religious leader who is regarded as an authority on religious law and its interpretation and who has political power as well|
Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Persia - a theocratic Islamic republic in the Middle East in western Asia; Iran was the core of the ancient empire that was known as Persia until 1935; rich in oil
religious leader - leader of a religious order