Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of the aristocratic political faction who fought during the Middle Ages for German imperial control of Italy, in opposition to the Guelphs and the papacy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A member of a medieval aristocratic Italian faction that supported the German emperors in a long struggle against the Popes and the Guelphs

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of a faction in Italy, in the 12th and 13th centuries, which favored the German emperors, and opposed the Guelfs, or adherents of the poses.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A member of the imperial and aristocratic party of Italy in the middle ages, opposed to the Guelfs, the papal and popular party. See Guelf.
  • Of or pertaining to the Ghibellines or their principles: as, a Ghibelline policy.

Etymologies

Italian Ghibellino, from Middle High German *wībeling, name of a Hohenstaufen estate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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