[ ram-uh-dahn ]
/ ˌræm əˈdɑn /
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noun Islam.
the ninth month of the Muslim calendar.See also Muslim calendar.
the daily fast that is rigidly enjoined from dawn until sunset during this month.
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Origin of Ramadan

First recorded in 1590–1600, Ramadan is from the Arabic word ramaḍān
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which many Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset each day.

The word Ramadan is also used to refer to this daily fast.

During Ramadan, Muslims who fast start the day by eating a meal, called suhoor, before sunrise. The fast is then broken every night after sunset with a meal called iftar. The strictness of the fast varies among Muslims, and not every Muslim fasts during Ramadan. Children, elderly people, and people who have a health condition or are sick or pregnant are not required to fast, and often eat and drink during the day.

Along with the daily fast and other forms of abstinence, many Muslims observe Ramadan by praying, attending services at their mosque, trying to give up bad habits, and performing charitable acts.

The day after Ramadan ends, the festival known as Eid-al-fitr begins. Its name means “festival of the breaking of the fast.”

One traditional greeting for Ramadan is Ramadan Mubarak, roughly meaning “Happy Ramadan” or “Blessed Ramadan.”

When is Ramadan?

In 2023, Ramadan begins on March 22 at sunset and ends on April 20. In 2024, Ramadan will begin on March 10 and end on April 9.

Ramadan always lasts either 29 or 30 days, because it’s based on the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar. Because of that, the dates during which it is observed vary from year to year.

What is the origin of Ramadan?

The first records of the word Ramadan in English come from the 1500s. It comes from the Arabic word ramaḍān, literally meaning “the hot month,” from ramad, meaning “dryness.” However, Ramadan isn’t tied to a particular season. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar that consists of 354 days, so its 12 months slowly cycle through different seasons.

The tradition of fasting during Ramadan is done in commemoration of the story of the Qur’an (the sacred text of Islam) being revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Ramadan?

How is Ramadan discussed in real life?

While Ramadan is a time of fasting, Muslims often look forward to it as a time of religious and cultural importance.

Try using Ramadan!

True or False?

Ramadan always lasts for 30 days.

How to use Ramadan in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Ramadan


Rhamadhan Ramazan (ˌræməˈzɑːn)

/ (ˌræməˈdɑːn) /

the ninth month of the Muslim year, lasting 30 days, during which strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset
the fast itself

Word Origin for Ramadan

C16: from Arabic, literally: the hot month, from ramad dryness
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

Cultural definitions for Ramadan

[ (ram-uh-dahn) ]

A holy month in Islam; the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Devout Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset during each day of Ramadan.

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.