|1.||the sovereign of a Muslim country, esp of the former Ottoman Empire|
|2.||an arbitrary ruler; despot|
|3.||a small domestic fowl with a white crest and heavily feathered legs and feet: originated in Turkey|
|[C16: from Medieval Latin sultānus, from Arabic sultān rule, from Aramaic salita to rule]|
originally, according to the Qur'an, moral or spiritual authority; the term later came to denote political or governmental power and from the 11th century was used as a title by Muslim sovereigns. Mahmud of Ghazna (reigned AD 998-1030) was the first Muslim ruler to be called sultan by his contemporaries, and under the Seljuqs of Anatolia and Iran it became a regular title. Thereafter it was frequently conferred on sovereigns by the caliph (titular head of the Muslim community) and came to be used throughout the Islamic world.
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