caliph

noun
ca·​liph | \ ˈkā-ləf How to pronounce caliph (audio) , ˈka-ləf \
variants: or less commonly calif

Definition of caliph

: a successor of Muhammad as temporal (see temporal entry 1 sense 1c) and spiritual head of Islam used as a title

Other Words from caliph

caliphal \ ˈkā-​lə-​fəl How to pronounce caliph (audio) , ˈka-​ \ adjective

Examples of caliph in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The country’s ruler, the Albanian commander Muhammad Ali, ended Mamluk rule, secured near independence from the Ottoman caliph, and embarked on modernizing the country in an attempt to catch up with the West. Ursula Lindsey, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2021 Fate follows a beggar king, his daughter, a dancer, and the caliph and grand vizier of Baghdad. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 9 Apr. 2021 Already in 2012, people were living as if Baghdadi was the caliph. Karl Vick, Time, 25 Feb. 2021 Hussain had been invited by the inhabitants of Kufa, which was a garrison town near Najaf, to come and lead them in a revolt against the Umayyad caliph in Damascus. Edith Szanto, The Conversation, 9 Sep. 2020 Hussain had been invited by the inhabitants of Kufa, which was a garrison town near Najaf, to come and lead them in a revolt against the Umayyad caliph in Damascus. Edith Szanto, chicagotribune.com, 9 Sep. 2020 For example, Mutawakkil, a caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, which ruled over a vast Islamic empire from the eighth to the 13th century, feared that the rituals inflamed anti-regime fervor. Edith Szanto, The Conversation, 9 Sep. 2020 For example, Mutawakkil, a caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, which ruled over a vast Islamic empire from the eighth to the 13th century, feared that the rituals inflamed anti-regime fervor. Edith Szanto, chicagotribune.com, 9 Sep. 2020 The meaning of the new nom de guerre was not lost on his future followers: Abu Bakr was the first caliph after the Prophet Muhammad’s death in ancient Arabia and is credited with the wave of Islamic expansion that followed. Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'caliph.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of caliph

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caliph

Middle English caliphe, from Middle French calife, from Arabic khalīfa successor

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Time Traveler for caliph

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The first known use of caliph was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Caliph.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caliph. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for caliph

caliph

noun
ca·​liph
variants: or calif \ ˈkā-​ləf \

Kids Definition of caliph

: an important Muslim political and religious leader

More from Merriam-Webster on caliph

Nglish: Translation of caliph for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caliph for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about caliph

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