What is the difference between Shia and Shiite?
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Philosophical - see here for explanation : http://islam.about.com/cs/divisions/f/shia_sunni.htm
That link just tries to summarise the philosophical differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims. But my question was about Shiite and Shia.
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ApologiesEmotion: embarrassed

Shia is the noun
Shiite is the adjective

He is a Shia
That is a Shiite mosque
No, Shiite can also be used as noun according to Merriam Webster's Dictionary. But Shia is always a noun. The following definitions are from MW's Dictionary.

Shiite (noun): a Muslim of the Shia branch of Islam.

- Shiite adjective

Shia (noun)

1: the Muslims of the branch of Islam comprising sects believing in Ali and the Imams as the only rightful successors of Muhammad and in the concealment and the messianic return of the last recognized Imam.

2: Shiite

3: the branch of Islam formed by the Shia

(also Shi'ite)
■ noun an adherent of the Shia branch of Islam.
■ adjective relating to Shia.


(also Shi'a)
noun (plural same or Shias) one of the two main branches of Islam, regarding Ali, the fourth caliph, as Muhammad's first true successor. Compare with Sunni. ▶a Muslim who adheres to this branch of Islam.

Preference:Concise Oxford English Dictionary

Shia is a noun which refer to one of the main branches of Islan, Comparing to Sunni.
Shiite can be either a noun(adherent of Shia) or a adjective(relating to Shia)
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Or indeed an adjective used as a noun, like blonde {She is a blonde}
Person A asks Person B: Which branch of Islam do you belong to?

Person B replies: I belong to Shia branch.

Person A: Well, you are shiite (here I don't think person A can say well, you are Shia because from preceding discussion I conclude that Shia mostly refers to a branch of Islam, not to a Muslim who adheres to this branch of Islam.

Being of Arab/Shia background I can tell you with confidence that there is no difference between Shia and Shi'ite. The linguistic difference is attributed to the language of origin. In Arabic, there is a silent 't' at the end of the word 'shia' which has been corrupted as a pronounceable t by non-Arabs such as Persians (who are mostly shias). In Arabic the silent 't' is only pronounceable when it is followed by a related word eg Shia't Ali meaning the Shia of Ali.

Also the word shia is Arabic for 'followers' or 'party'
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