noun Islam.
the officiating priest of a mosque.
the title for a Muslim religious leader or chief.
one of a succession of seven or twelve religious leaders, believed to be divinely inspired, of the Shiʿites.
Also, imaum [ih-mahm, ih-mawm] .

1605–15; < Arabic imām leader, guide

imamship, noun

clergy, cleric, imam, minister, pastor, priest, rabbi. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
imam or imaum (ɪˈmɑːm, ɪˈmɔːm)
1.  a leader of congregational prayer in a mosque
2.  a caliph, as leader of a Muslim community
3.  an honorific title applied to eminent doctors of Islam, such as the founders of the orthodox schools
4.  any of a succession of either seven or twelve religious leaders of the Shiites, regarded by their followers as divinely inspired
[C17: from Arabic: leader, from amma he guided]
imaum or imaum
[C17: from Arabic: leader, from amma he guided]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1613, from Ar., lit. "leader," lit. "one who precedes," from amma "to go before, precede."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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