Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
a military and religious order of German knights () organized in 1191 for service in the Crusades and later active in the military conquests by Germany of Baltic and Slavic lands
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
nounThe American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
An order of German knights, priests, and lay brothers founded in the late 12th century that sought to expand Christendom through missions and conquest and built numerous towns which it then governed as nobility. After being defeated by Poles and Lithuanians at the battle of Tannenberg (1410), its strength waned, and today it survives as a charitable clerical organization.