Definition of reign in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /reɪn/


[no object]
1Hold royal office; rule as monarch: Queen Elizabeth reigns over the UK
More example sentences
  • Democracy has been conveniently thrown out the door and in its wake imperialist and dictatorial rule reign supreme.
  • And we pay these modern-day monarchs to reign over and rule us.
  • Despite possessing many of the qualities needed to govern, the king had reigned but never ruled.
be king/queen, be monarch, be sovereign, sit on the throne, occupy the throne, wear the crown, wield the sceptre, hold sway, rule, govern, be in power
ruling, regnant;
on the throne
1.1Be the best or most important in a particular area or domain: in America, baseball reigns supreme
More example sentences
  • A committed team effort from Kendal was rewarded with a 35-run victory over reigning Northern Premier League champions Darwen at Birch Hall on Saturday.
  • Coughlin, the world record holder and reigning Olympic champion, had to settle for third.
  • In the League semi-final Carlow shocked reigning Ulster champions, Armagh, to reach the county's lone NFL final.
incumbent, current, in office, presiding, in power
1.2(Of a quality or condition) be the dominant feature of a situation or place: confusion reigned
More example sentences
  • Quality reigns when it comes to choosing an adequate outsource partner, but the significance of inventory management capabilities is increasing.
  • All around him, chaos and disorder reigned.
  • The party's lack of emphasis on defense didn't matter much when peace and prosperity reigned.
prevail, exist, be in existence, be present, be the case, hold, obtain, occur, be prevalent, be current, be rife, be rampant, be the order of the day, be customary, be established, be common, be widespread, be in force, be in effect;
abound, predominate, preponderate, be supreme, hold sway;
endure, survive, persist
prevailing, existing, extant, contemporary, present, current, modern, latest;
usual, common, set, recognized, established, accepted, ordinary, popular, fashionable;
general, pervasive, ubiquitous, widespread, rampant, universal;
in force, in fashion, in style, in vogue


1The period of rule of a monarch: the original chapel was built in the reign of Charles I
More example sentences
  • It was the official religion during the reign of the monarchy and is currently the unofficial religion.
  • When the Queen first began her reign, monarchs were expected to be somewhat detached, grand and distant figures, especially the British monarch.
  • A modern historian has said that at no period of her history has Scotland ever stood relatively so high in the scale of nations as during the reign of this excellent monarch.
rule, sovereignty, monarchy
1.1The period during which someone or something is predominant or pre-eminent: she was hoping for a long reign as world champion
More example sentences
  • Even in the darkest early days of his reign as Down manager he never tried to offload the blame for defeat.
  • Meanwhile, Jonathan Edwards saw his reign as European champion brought to an end as the triple jump great was toppled by Sweden's Christian Olsson.
  • During his reign as manager, English helped Tipp to win one All-Ireland, one Munster championship and two National League titles.
period in office, incumbency, tenancy, managership, leadership;
period as champion


The correct idiomatic phrase is a free rein, not a free reign; see rein (usage).


Middle English: from Old French reignier 'to reign', reigne 'kingdom', from Latin regnum, related to rex, reg- 'king'.

Words that rhyme with reign

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: reign

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.