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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.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, [], OCLC 21345056, page 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:...
    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.

Derived terms[edit]