[ ih-mahm ]
/ ɪˈmɑm /

noun Islam.

the officiating priest of a mosque.
the title for a Muslim religious leader or chief.
one of a succession of seven or twelve religious leaders, believed to be divinely inspired, of the Shiʿites.
Also i·maum [ih-mahm, ih-mawm] /ɪˈmɑm, ɪˈmɔm/.

Origin of imam

First recorded in 1605–15, imam is from the Arabic word imām leader, guide

Related forms

i·mam·ship, noun

Can be confused

clergy cleric imam minister pastor priest rabbi Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for imam

British Dictionary definitions for imam


imaum (ɪˈmɑːm, ɪˈmɔːm)

/ (ɪˈmɑːm) /

noun Islam

a leader of congregational prayer in a mosque
a caliph, as leader of a Muslim community
an honorific title applied to eminent doctors of Islam, such as the founders of the orthodox schools
any of a succession of either seven or twelve religious leaders of the Shiites, regarded by their followers as divinely inspired

Word Origin for imam

C17: from Arabic: leader, from amma he guided
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