Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for shahs
  • The golden sterlet caviar was once a favorite of czars, shahs, and emperors.
British Dictionary definitions for shahs


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for shahs



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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for shahs


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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for shah

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for shahs

Scrabble Words With Friends