Definition of empire in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈemˌpī(ə)r/


1An extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, formerly especially an emperor or empress: [in names]: the Roman Empire
More example sentences
  • The second Kingdom of Kush conquered most of Egypt, and eventually ruled an empire stretching from the borders of Palestine to the Blue and White Niles.
  • The European empires were dismembered by nationalist movements, with support from lawyers, journalists, unions, and the churches.
  • Various remnants of the once vast colonial empires are still controlled by European states.
kingdom, realm, domain, territory, imperium;
power, world power, superpower
1.1A large commercial organization owned or controlled by one person or group: her business empire grew
More example sentences
  • More impressive still, he has built his empire with a tiny organization and very little of his own capital.
  • Normally business empires grow over four or five generations.
  • Her business empire suffered from employee dissatisfaction and manager buyouts, and indeed her entire business was almost totally lost to her on at least three occasions.
organization, corporation, multinational, conglomerate, consortium, company, business, firm, operation
1.2An extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group: the kitchen had once been the ladies' empire
More example sentences
  • Local authorities have become vast empires of superfluous activity, overmanned at taxpayers' expense.
  • The Kingpin is beginning to lose control of his criminal empire.
  • The law school feels like an empire unto itself.
1.3Supreme political power over several countries when exercised by a single authority: he encouraged the Greeks in their dream of empire in Asia Minor
More example sentences
  • The republic has been defined by its hypocrisy as much as by its virtue - just another great power justifying empire in the name of the greater improvement of all mankind.
  • Power and empire may not be quite the same thing but the distinction between them is less apparent than policymakers in Washington affect to believe.
  • For it is a mistake to suppose that institutions alone will save a republic from the abuses of power to which empire inevitably leads.
power, rule, ascendancy, supremacy, command, control, authority, sway, dominance, domination, dominion
1.4 archaic Absolute control over a person or group.
2A variety of apple.


Pronunciation: /ämˈpir/
(usually Empire) [attributive]
Image of empire
Denoting a style of furniture, decoration, or dress fashionable during the First or (less commonly) the Second Empire in France. The decorative style was neoclassical but marked by an interest in Egyptian and other ancient motifs probably inspired by Napoleon’s Egyptian campaigns.
Example sentences
  • It glories in its Louis XIV and Empire style, all marble, gilt and elaborate stucco.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin imperium, related to imperare 'to command' (see emperor).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: em·pire

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