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  1. the Indo-European, Iranian language of the Zoroastrian literature of the 3rd to the 10th centuries.
  2. the script used in writing this language, derived from the Aramaic alphabet.

Origin of Pahlavi1

First recorded in 1765–75, Pahlavi is from the Persian word Pahlavī Parthian


or Pah·le·vi

noun, plural Pah·la·vis for 3.
  1. Muhammad Ri·za (or Re·za) [ri-zah] /rɪˈzɑ/, 1919–80, shah of Iran 1941–79; in exile after 1979 (son of Riza Shah Pahlavi).
  2. Riza (or Reza) Shah,1877–1944, shah of Iran 1925–41.
  3. (lowercase) a former gold coin of Iran, equal to 20 rials.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pahlavi


  1. Mohammed Reza (ˈriːzə). 1919–80, shah of Iran (1941–79); forced into exile (1979) during civil unrest following which an Islamic republic was established led by the Ayatollah Khomeini
  2. his father, Reza. 1877–1944, shah of Iran (1925–41). Originally an army officer, he gained power by a coup d'état (1921) and was chosen shah by the National Assembly. He reorganized the army and did much to modernize Iran



  1. the Middle Persian language, esp as used in classical Zoroastrian and Manichean literature

Word Origin

C18: from Persian pahlavī, from Old Persian Parthava Parthia
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

Word Origin and History for pahlavi



1773, Iranian language spoken in Persia 3c.-10c., from Persian Pahlavi, from Old Persian Parthava "Parthia" (see Parthian).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper