Definition of royal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈroi(ə)l/


1Having the status of a king or queen or a member of their family: contributors included members of the royal family
More example sentences
  • The play is about Anastasia Romanov, a member of the Russian royal family, after the fall of the Russian monarchy in 1918.
  • As well as the Queen Mother, the queen and her husband Prince Philip, most other members of the royal family are due to attend the funeral.
  • Boromo Trailokanat resolved the question of succession by ranking every member of the royal family in relation to the reigning monarch.
1.1Belonging to or carried out or exercised by a king or queen: the royal palace the coalition obtained royal approval for the appointment
More example sentences
  • Prince Charles gave the royal seal of approval to the appeal launched by St John's Church in Devizes by attending a fundraising concert.
  • Prince Andrew of Greece was reburied in the royal Summer Palace at Tatoi in Athens.
  • Castles, stately homes and royal palaces comprise nine per cent of all listed buildings and industrial heritage accounts for five per cent.
regal, kingly, queenly, princely;
sovereign, monarchical
1.2 [attributive] In the service or under the patronage of a king or queen: a royal maid
More example sentences
  • She had been a royal Maid of Honour from 1853 and her marriage had brought her closer to the throne.
  • His wife, he said, understood the pressures of a life as a royal butler because she was the Duke of Edinburgh's maid for 16 years.
  • When a guest at a ball for royal staff at Buckingham Palace the Duke asked her what she thought of the food.
1.3 [attributive] Of a quality or size suitable for a king or queen; splendid: a royal fortune
More example sentences
  • There is more to Rajasthan than just its royal splendour or amazing camel rides through never-ending sand dunes.
  • Certainly there was a royal quality to the servings - I struggled to finish them.
  • The people of Tory Island and their King were treated to a royal welcome in Monasterevin last weekend.
excellent, fine, magnificent, splendid, superb, wonderful, first-rate, first-class
informal fantastic, great, tremendous
1.4 informal Unmitigated; extreme: he might turn out to be a royal pain
More example sentences
  • I'm all for getting out of my ill-lit, unpleasantly fragrant apartment, but going to the mall can be a royal pain.
  • I've worked with these a lot, and they're a royal pain.
  • Justin was being a royal pain, so I took out a restraining order on him along about the end of August.
complete, utter, total, absolute, real, thorough


1 informal A member of a royal family, especially in England.
Example sentences
  • At 11.10 am Royal Family members, foreign royals and members of the Queen Mother's family will be seated.
  • At the Abbey, members of the Royal Family, foreign royals, members of the Bowes Lyon family and other blood relatives move in procession to their seats.
  • Some 35 members of the Royal Family and 25 foreign royals were there to pay a personal tribute.
2 short for royal sail or royal mast.
3 (in full metric royal) A paper size, now standardized at 636 × 480 mm.
3.1 (in full royal octavo) A book size, now standardized at 234 × 156 mm.
3.2 (in full royal quarto) A book size, now standardized at 312 × 237 mm.


royal road to

A way of attaining or reaching something without trouble: there is no royal road to teaching
More example sentences
  • It has become orthodoxy in most texts on politics and political science that something called ‘economic liberalisation’ is the royal road to international acceptability.
  • I can start, I suppose, by attacking the notion that liberalism or secularism - or even nihilism, for that matter - is the royal road to totalitarianism.
  • Freud famously said that dreams were the royal road to the unconscious; perhaps the movies offer another way to get there.


Late Middle English: from Old French roial, from Latin regalis 'regal'.

  • rule from Middle English:

    We think of rules as giving us lines to follow, and the word goes back to Latin regula ‘straight stick’, and beyond that to regere ‘to rule’, the source of regency and royal (Late Middle English). To rule the roost is to be in complete control. The original form of the phrase was rule the roast, from the end of the 15th century, which may imply that it referred to the most important person at a banquet or feast. Roast changed to roost in the 18th century when people started thinking about a cockerel asserting itself over the other roosting birds in the farmyard. The rule in run the rule over, ‘to examine quickly’, is a measuring stick or ruler. It has the same meaning in rule of thumb, ‘a broadly accurate guide based on practice rather than theory’. This expression, recorded from 1692, is probably from the ancient use of parts of the body, such as the foot and the hand, as units of measurement. The first joint of a man's thumb is about an inch long, and so is useful for making rough measurements when you have mislaid your ruler. See also rail

Words that rhyme with royal

loyal, viceroyal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: roy·al

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