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ayatollah

[ah-yuh-toh-luh] /ˌɑ yəˈtoʊ lə/
noun
1.
(among Shiʿites) a title in the religious hierarchy achieved by scholars who have demonstrated highly advanced knowledge of Islamic law and religion.
Origin
1975-1980
1975-80; < Persian < Arabic āyat allāh sign of God; cf. Allah
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ayatollah

ayatollah

/ˌaɪəˈtɒlə/
noun
1.
one of a class of Iranian Shiite religious leaders
Word Origin
via Persian from Arabic, from aya sign + Allah god
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 ayatollah
n.

honorific title for an Iranian Shiite religious leader, 1950, from Persian, from Arabic ayatu-llah, literally "miraculous sign of God."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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