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

  • n. A leader of an Islamic polity, regarded as a successor of Muhammad and by tradition always male.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The political leader of the Muslim world, successor of Muhammad's political authority, not religious or spiritual.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Successor or vicar; the civil and religious leader of a Muslim state; -- a title of the successors of Mohammed both as temporal and spiritual rulers, used formerly by the sultans of Turkey.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See calif, califate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the civil and religious leader of a Muslim state considered to be a representative of Allah on earth


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

Middle English calife, from Old French, from Arabic ḫalīfa, successor (to Muhammad), caliph, from ḫalafa, to succeed; see ḫlp in Semitic roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Arabic خليفة (khalīfä).


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  • The Ottoman sultan seized the title of caliph from the Arabs and moved the capital of the Islamic empire to Istanbul formerly Constantinople.

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  • The caliph was the “commander of the faithful,” the political and military leader of the worldwide community of Muslims, and the city where he lived was the caliphate—the capital of the Muslim world.

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  • In these times, to be called a caliph you must have money.

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  • He was called the caliph, a word which means SUCCESSOR; and this title has been borne ever since by the religious chief of the Mohammedans.

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  • Scheich Ibrahim sung, and the caliph was the more surprised, because till that moment he never knew of his drinking wine, but always took him for a grave, solid man, as he seemed to be to outward appearance.

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  • Their moral and political writings might have gradually unlocked the fetters of Eastern despotism, diffused a liberal spirit of inquiry and toleration, and encouraged the Arabian sages to suspect that their caliph was a tyrant, and their prophet an impostor.

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  • I swear that I stealthily crept to the computer and looked up the site of this (Shiite) Imam, this so called caliph in his land.

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