A member of a Muslim sect originating in the early 8th century which introduced speculative dogmatics into Islam and, in particular, denied predestination.
Of, relating to, or designating this sect.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Ephraim Chambers (?1680–1740), encyclopaedist. From Arabic muʿtazila (plural), lit. ‘separatists’ (active participle of iʿtazala to separate oneself, stand aside) + -ite.