1. Islam An individual's striving for spiritual self-perfection.
2. Islam A Muslim holy war or spiritual struggle for the propagation or defense of Islam.
3. A campaign against perceived foes, especially such a campaign regarded as fanatical or immoderate: "The war against smoking is turning into a jihad against people who smoke" (Fortune).
[Arabic jihād, from jahada, to strive; see ghd in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.