[ih-rey-nee-uh n, ih-rah-, ahy-rey-]
  1. a subbranch of the Indo-European family of languages, including especially Persian, Pashto, Avestan, and Kurdish.
  2. an inhabitant of Iran; Persian.
Also I·ra·ni [ih-ran-ee, ih-rah-nee, ahy-rey-] /ɪˈræn i, ɪˈrɑ ni, aɪˈreɪ-/ (for defs 1, 4).

Origin of Iranian

First recorded in 1835–45; Iran + -ian
Related formspro-I·ra·ni·an, adjective, nounpseu·do-I·ra·ni·an, adjective, nountrans-I·ra·ni·an, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for iranian


  1. a native, citizen, or inhabitant of Iran
  2. a branch of the Indo-European family of languages, divided into West Iranian (including Old Persian, Pahlavi, modern Persian, Kurdish, Baluchi, and Tajik) and East Iranian (including Avestan, Sogdian, Pashto, and Ossetic)
  3. Also: Persian, Farsi the modern Persian language
  1. relating to, denoting, or characteristic of Iran, its inhabitants, or their language; Persian
  2. belonging to or relating to the Iranian branch of Indo-European
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 iranian


1841 (adj.); 1873 (n.), from Iran + -ian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper