The Arabic word Ayatollah (ayatu-llah), which is a title for a Shiite religious leader in Iran, literally means “sign of god.”
Americans started hearing this word more often in the late ’70s, when Iran’s Ruhollah Khomeini, typically called “Ayatollah Khomeini” by the U.S. press, led the Iranian Revolution that overthrew the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (whose wives included Farah and Soraya).
From that point onward, Khomeini became the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- 1981: unlisted
- 1980: unlisted
- 1979: 6 baby boys named Ayatollah [debut]
- 1978: unlisted
- 1977: unlisted
What are your thoughts on “Ayatollah” as a baby name?