from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. In law and theology, the caliph who is successor to Muhammad as the lawful temporal leader of the Islamic community.
  • n. The male prayer leader in a mosque.
  • n. The Muslim worshiper who leads the recitation of prayer when two or more worshipers are present.
  • n. A male spiritual and temporal leader regarded by Shiites as a descendant of Muhammad divinely appointed to guide humans.
  • n. An earthly representative of the 12 such leaders recognized by the majority form of Shiism.
  • n. Islam A ruler claiming descent from Muhammad and exercising authority in an Islamic state.
  • n. Any one of the founders of the four schools of law and theology.
  • n. An authoritative scholar who founds a school of law or theology.
  • n. Islam Used as a title for an imam.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A Shi'ite Muslim leader.
  • n. One who leads the salat prayers in a mosque.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Among the Mohammedans, a minister or priest who performs the regular service of the mosque.
  • n. A Mohammedan prince who, as a successor of Mohammed, unites in his person supreme spiritual and temporal power.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A Mohammedan chief or leader. Specifically

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Islam) the man who leads prayers in a mosque; for Shiites an imam is a recognized authority on Islamic theology and law and a spiritual guide


Arabic 'imām, leader, imam, from 'amma, to go before, lead; see אmm in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Arabic إمام (’imām). (Wiktionary)



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