- a leader of the Shiite sect of the Muslim religion, serving as teacher, judge, and administrator
- a leader, authority, etc. having much power or influence
Origin of ayatollahAr, literally , sign of God from ?yat, sign + Allah, Allah
- A high-ranking Shiite religious authority regarded as worthy of imitation in matters of religious law and interpretation.
- Used as a title for such a leader.
Origin of ayatollahPersian āyatollāh from Arabic 'āyatu llāh sign of God 'āyatu bound form of 'āya sign, Koranic verse ℵwy allāh Allah ; see Allah .