/ah'zeuhr buy jah"nee, az'euhr buy jan"ee/, n., pl. Azerbaijanis, (esp. collectively) Azerbaijani for 1, 2.
1. a native or inhabitant of Azerbaijan.
2. a member of an Azerbaijani-speaking people of Azerbaijan and of the Iranian provinces of Azerbaijan.
3. the Turkic language of the Azerbaijani, written with Cyrillic letters in Azerbaijan and with Arabic letters in Iran.
Also, Azerbaijanian.
[1885-90; AZERBAIJAN + -i suffix of membership]

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      any member of a Turkic people living chiefly in the Republic of Azerbaijan and in the region of Azerbaijan in northwestern Iran. At the turn of the 21st century there were some 7,500,000 Azerbaijani in the republic and neighbouring areas and more than 15,000,000 in Iran. They are mainly sedentary farmers and herders, although some of those in the republic have found employment in various industries. Most Azerbaijani are Shīʿite Muslims. They speak Azeri, a language belonging to the southwestern branch of Turkic languages.

      The Azerbaijani are of mixed ethnic origin, the oldest element deriving from the indigenous population of eastern Transcaucasia and possibly from the Medians of northern Persia. This population was Persianized during the period of the Sāsānian dynasty of Iran (3rd–7th century AD), but, after the region's conquest by the Seljuq Turks in the 11th century, the inhabitants were Turkicized, and further Turkicization of the population occurred in the ensuing centuries.

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Universalium. 2010.

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