[shah, shaw]
noun (often initial capital letter)
(formerly, in Iran) king; sovereign.

1560–70; < Persian: king

shahdom, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To shah
World English Dictionary
shah (ʃɑː)
a ruler of certain Middle Eastern countries, esp (formerly) Iran
[C16: from Persian: king]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

title of the king of Persia, 1564, shaw, from Pers. shah, shortened from O.Pers. xayathiya "king," cognate with Skt. xatra "dominion;" Gk. krasthai "to acquire, get," kektesthai "to possess." His wife is a shahbanu (from banu "lady"); his son is a shahzadah (from zadah "son").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


title of the kings of Iran, or Persia. When compounded as shahanshah, it denotes "king of kings," or emperor, a title adopted by the 20th-century Pahlavi dynasty in evocation of the ancient Persian "king of kings," Cyrus II the Great (reigned 559-c. 529 BC). Another related title or form of address is padshah, or "lord king." The title shah was also used in Afghanistan until the overturn of the monarchy in 1973 and has been used by rulers and princelings in other countries of central and southern Asia. Sometimes, as a part of a name, shah was used by hereditary governors and heads of Sufi orders. The son of a shah is called a shahzada (literally "shah son"). See also shabunder.

Learn more about shah with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The government has already warned against demonstrations to coincide with the anniversary of the ouster of the shah.
Thirty years after the fall of the shah, pride in the revolution is tempered by a widely shared sense that it has gone astray.
For anyone old enough to remember the days of the shah, that statistic means something.
Shah has more troubles than a screenwriter could dream up.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature