Definition of suzerain in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈso͞ozərən/
Pronunciation: /ˈso͞ozəˌrān/


1A sovereign or state having some control over another state that is internally autonomous.
Example sentences
  • The policy of the local ruler of Fergana against the Arabs oscillated between conciliation and attempts to call in aid from the Chinese Emperors as nominal suzerains over Central Asia and from the Turks.
  • Among those heirs, Lachlan, a Princeton graduate, shares his father's conservative politics, making him a logical suzerain for the right-wing New York Post.
  • In 1840 the government of Adolphe Thiers tried to revive Napoleon's glories in the Orient by supporting the pasha of Egypt in his bid to take Syria from his suzerain, the Ottoman Emperor.
1.1 historical A feudal overlord.
Example sentences
  • To preserve his ‘state’, the king had to exploit his ‘lordship’ as a feudal suzerain.
  • Functional differentiation did of course arise in the suzerain - vassal pattern of political relations that typified both ancient and classical empires, and the modern ones of the European imperial age.
  • His man was soon driven out, but his intervention established a definite French influence and reminded everyone that he was the suzerain of the Flemings.



Pronunciation: /ˈso͞ozərəntē/
Pronunciation: /ˈso͞ozəˌrāntē/
Example sentences
  • Akbar finally annexed Ahmadnagar and Bijapur and Golconda became Mughal suzerainties during Jahangir and Shah Jahan's rule.
  • The cover of Mughal suzerainty only helped the southern sultanates to extend their borders well into Chola heartland of Tamil Nadu and Mysore.
  • The area came under the suzerainty of the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1888 when the company received a royal charter to administer the territory.


Early 19th century: from French, apparently from sus 'above' (from Latin su(r)sum 'upward'), suggested by souverain 'sovereign'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: su·ze·rain

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