• synonyms


or u·le·ma

plural noun Islam.
  1. the doctors of Muslim religion and law.
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Origin of ʿulama

First recorded in 1680–90, ʿulama is from the Arabic word ʿulamā learned men
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ulema


  1. a variant of ulama 1
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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 ulema


"scholars of Muslim religious law," 1680s, from Arabic 'ulema "learned men, scholars," plural of 'alim "learned," from 'alama "to know."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper