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[shah, shaw] /ʃɑ, ʃɔ/
noun, (often initial capital letter)
(formerly, in Iran) king; sovereign.
1560-70; < Persian: king
Related forms
shahdom, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shah
  • 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.
  • The last safavid shah was executed, and the dynasty came to an end.
  • The shah first received the emerald belt, followed by the imperial sword and robe.
British Dictionary definitions for shah


a ruler of certain Middle Eastern countries, esp (formerly) Iran
Derived Forms
shahdom, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Persian: king
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 shah

title of the king of Persia, 1560s, shaw, from Persian shah, shortened from Old Persian xšayathiya "king," from Indo-Iranian *ksayati "he has power over, rules" from PIE *tke- "to gain control of, gain power over" (cf. Sanskrit ksatram "dominion;" Greek 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
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Encyclopedia Article for shah

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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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