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[soo n-ee] /ˈsʊn i/
noun, Islam.
Also called Sunnite. a member of one of the two great religious divisions of Islam, regarding the first four caliphs as legitimate successors of Muhammad and stressing the importance of Sunna as a basis for law.
Compare Shiʿite.
(used with a plural verb) the Sunni Muslims.
Origin of Sunni
1620-30; < Arabic sunnī, derivative of sunnah Sunna
Related forms
Sunnism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sunnis
  • sunnis often receive preference for employment in sensitive government positions and in the managerial ranks of the civil service.
  • sunnis may tolerate some political setbacks provided they see improvements in their living conditions.
British Dictionary definitions for sunnis


one of the two main branches of orthodox Islam (the other being the Shiah), consisting of those who acknowledge the authority of the Sunna
(pl) -nis, -ni another term for Sunnite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sunnis


1620s, from Arabic, literally "lawful," from Sunna "traditional teachings of Muhammad," literally "way, custom, course, tradition." Muslims who accept the orthodox tradition as well as the Quran.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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