A caliph is a religious and civil leader in a Muslim country. If you become a diplomat in the Middle East, you might have many discussions with caliphs.

Caliph comes from the Arabic word khalafa, meaning "successor" or "next in line." It was taken as a title by Abu-bekr, the first Islamic leader after the death of Mohammed, the prophet who founded the religion of Islam. All great Islamic leaders take the title caliph. Because caliph is an Anglicized version of an Arabic word, from a different alphabet, there are many spelling variations including calif, kalif, kaliph, khalif, and khalifah.

Definitions of caliph

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

calif, kalif, kaliph, khalif, khalifah
the fourth caliph of Islam who is considered to be the first caliph by Shiites; he was a cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad; after his assassination Islam was divided into Shiite and Sunnite sects
Type of:
Moslem, Muslim
a believer in or follower of Islam
ruler, swayer
a person who rules or commands

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.