1. The branch of Islam that accepts the first four caliphs as rightful successors of Muhammad.
2. pl. Sunni or Sun·nis A Muslim belonging to this branch; a Sunnite.
[Arabic sunnī, adherent of the Sunna, from sunna, customary practice, tradition; see SUNNA.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.