Definition of sovereign in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɒvrɪn/


1A supreme ruler, especially a monarch: the Emperor became the first Japanese sovereign to visit Britain
More example sentences
  • In India, however, she was an empress, a supreme sovereign to whom other sovereigns owed homage.
  • He was the 10th monarch to be buried in the precinct of the chapel, with other sovereigns including Henry VIII, Charles I, George III, Edward VII and George V.
  • He professed that the Emperor was the true sovereign of Japan.
king, queen, emperor, empress, prince, princess, tsar, royal duke, grand duke, elector, crown prince, princeling, prince regent, mogul, baron, liege (lord), lord, emir, sheikh, sultan, maharaja, raja
historical atheling
2A former British gold coin worth one pound sterling, now only minted for commemorative purposes.
Example sentences
  • How can I find the latest prices for Krugerrands and gold sovereigns?
  • The bullion then entered the money stock of other countries, as with the British sovereign made of Brazilian gold, or was shipped eastwards to pay for Asian or Baltic imports.
  • Anderson had a mysterious habit of paying people in English sovereigns or South African gold coins, which he kept in a locked briefcase.


1Possessing supreme or ultimate power: in modern democracies the people’s will is in theory sovereign
More example sentences
  • Its governance structure would be bottom-up, power ultimately based on sovereign individuals.
  • We, the People, are sovereign over utility lobbyists, and we can have the energy future we want.
  • In 1971 the Icelandic government unilaterally declared that it was henceforth sovereign over the waters up to 50 nautical miles from its coasts.
supreme, absolute, unlimited, unrestricted, unrestrained, unbounded, boundless, infinite, ultimate, total, unconditional, full, utter, paramount;
principal, chief, dominant, predominant, ruling;
royal, regal, kingly, monarchical
1.1 [attributive] (Of a nation or its affairs) acting or done independently and without outside interference: a sovereign, democratic republic
More example sentences
  • Over ten former Soviet republics became independent, sovereign nation-states by the end of 1991.
  • We will go forward as a unified, independent, and sovereign nation that has regained a respected place in the world.
  • However, the mission marks another dramatic shift away from a general policy of non-intervention in the affairs of sovereign nations.
independent, self-governing, autonomous, self-determining, self-legislating;
1.2 [attributive] archaic or literary Possessing royal power and status: our most sovereign lord the King
More example sentences
  • You and I shall become a good team working for the good of our sovereign lord, His Majesty, may he live ten thousand years.
  • Proclaim him as the sovereign Lord over all of creation.
  • Political rhetoric aside, Christians know that human freedom cannot bring lasting peace and prosperity - only the sovereign Lord of history can do that.
2 [attributive] dated Very good or effective: a sovereign remedy for all ills
More example sentences
  • And it was not, in my view, the kind of sovereign remedy that the proponents make it out to be.
  • It is supposed to secure obedience to the slaveholder, and is held as a sovereign remedy among the slaves themselves, for every form of disobedience, temporal or spiritual.
  • Popular belief credits shark liver pills with being a sovereign remedy for illness ranging from arthritis to diabetes.



Example sentences
  • Traditional Baptists believe that God loves all people in the sense that God wants all people to be saved; Calvinists believe that God has sovereignly predestined that some people will not be saved.
  • We need to know and proclaim the Triune God, the Lord of the World, who sovereignly calls Man into a relationship of love with himself through the objective propitiation made by Christ.
  • Calvin said that God sovereignly predestined everything that happens in the world.


Middle English: from Old French soverain, based on Latin super 'above'. The change in the ending was due to association with reign.

  • Latin super ‘above’ as in superior was used to form Old French soverain. The ending was then altered in the 15th century so that it looked as if the word was associated with reign. The word was used as a term for a gold coin minted in England from the time of Henry VII to Charles I; it was originally worth 22s. 6d. The sovereign was revived in 1817 with a value of one pound.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sov|er|eign

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