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See also: Caliph


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English calife, caliphe, from Old French caliphe, from Medieval Latin calipha, from Arabic خَلِيفَة(ḵalīfa, caliph) and خَلِيف(ḵalīf, successor).


  • IPA(key): /ˈkeɪlɪf/, /ˈkælɪf/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪlɪf


caliph (plural caliphs)

  1. The political leader of the Muslim world; the successor of the prophet Muhammad's political authority.
    The Abbasid caliphs patronized art and science beside religious developments ushering in the Islamic Golden Age when their capital Baghdad began to flourish as a center of knowledge, culture and trade.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “The Coronation”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, pages 148-149:
      It carries us to the East, and the stately halls of the caliphs rise on the mind's eye; and we think over the thousand and one stories which made our childhood so happy, and stored up a world of unconscious poetry for our future years:...

Derived terms[edit]