1A member of one of two great factions in Italian medieval politics, traditionally supporting the Pope against the Holy Roman Emperor. Compare with Ghibelline.
- The Italians fought endless civic wars under the banner of Guelph or Ghibelline, Pope or Empire, but they were little more than pretexts for strife.
- Dante was a Guelph (a supporter of papal authority over the power of the German emperors) of the White persuasion, but one of his closest friends, Cino of Pistoia, belonged to the Black faction.
- I don't want to revisit the time when a perpetual war, as between Guelphs and Ghibellines, raged between supporters of Gielgud and Olivier.
2A member of a princely family of Swabian origin from which the British royal house is descended through George I.
- The House of Hanover is descended from the ancient line of Guelph, or Welf, that ruled in Brunswick back into the middle ages.
From Italian Guelfo, from Middle High German Welf, the name of the founder of one of the two great rival dynasties in the Holy Roman Empire.
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