from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An order of German knights, priests, and lay brothers founded in the late 12th century that sought to expand Christendom through missions and conquest and built numerous towns which it then governed as nobility. After being defeated by Poles and Lithuanians at the battle of Tannenberg (1410), its strength waned, and today it survives as a charitable clerical organization.
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