or Ba·ha·i, Ba·hā·ʾī

[ buh-hah-ee, -hahy ]
/ bəˈhɑ i, -ˈhaɪ /

noun, plural Ba·ha·ʾis.

a religion founded in Iran in 1863 by Husayn ʿAlī (called Bahaullah), teaching the essential worth of all religions, the unity of all peoples, and the equality of the sexes.
an adherent of Bahaʾi.


of or relating to Bahaʾi or Bahaʾis.

Origin of Bahaʾi

< Persian < Arabic bahāʾ (Allāh) Bahaullah, literally, splendor (of God) + suffix of appurtenance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Word Origin and History for baha'i


1889, mystical, tolerant Iranian religion founded by a Mirza Ali Mohammed ibn Radhik, Shiraz merchant executed for heresy in 1850, and named for his leading disciple, Baha Allah (Persian "splendor of God;" ultimately from Arabic). It also is sometimes called Babism, after the name taken by the founder, Bab-ed-Din, "gate of the faith."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for baha'i


[ (bah-hah-ee, buh-heye) ]

A teacher or follower of Bahaism, a religion advocating universal peace and stressing the spiritual unity of humankind. It was founded in 1863 in Persia as an offshoot of an earlier sect called Babism.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.