an Islamic religious decree issued by the ʿulama.

Nearby words

  1. fatty tumor,
  2. fatuitous,
  3. fatuity,
  4. fatuous,
  5. fatuously,
  6. fatwood,
  7. faubourg,
  8. faucal,
  9. faucaria,
  10. fauces

Origin of fatwa

First recorded in 1985–90, fatwa is from the Arabic word fatwā

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fatwa

British Dictionary definitions for fatwa




a non-binding judgment on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized religious authority

Word Origin for fatwa


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 fatwa



1620s, from Arabic fetwa "a decision given by a mufti," related to fata "to instruct by a legal decision." Popularized 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a ruling sentencing author Salman Rushdie to death for publishing "The Satanic Verses" (1988). It was lifted 1998.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper