Definition of emperor in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈemp(ə)rər/


1A sovereign ruler of great power and rank, especially one ruling an empire.
Example sentences
  • The emperor and empress earlier in the day met with the king, who has been discharged from the hospital.
  • The king is expected to invite the emperor and empress to a private dinner at his palace on Wednesday.
  • At the end of the passage, there is a big hillock, under which the first Qing emperor and empress are buried.
ruler, sovereign, king, monarch, potentate
historical czar, kaiser, mikado, khan
2 (also emperor butterfly) An orange and brown North American butterfly with a swift dodging flight, breeding chiefly on hackberries.
  • Genus Asterocampa, subfamily Apaturinae, family Nymphalidae: several species, in particular the tawny emperor (A. clyton).


the emperor's new clothes

(also the emperor has no clothes)
Used in reference to a situation in which people believe or pretend to believe in the worth or importance of something that is worthless, or fear to point out an obvious truth that is counter to prevailing opinion: is his white canvas a case of the emperor’s new clothes or is it something beautiful, even moving? this is the first time that anyone has stripped his work of its rhetoric and shown that this particular emperor has no clothes
After the title of the story Kejserens nye klæder (1837) by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen (first translated into English as The Emperor's New Clothes in 1846), in which an emperor is tricked into thinking he is wearing beautiful new clothes, which all his courtiers pretend to admire, until a boy points out that he is in fact naked
More example sentences
  • It is doubtful that anyone will tell the senator that the emperor has no clothes.
  • Since everyone buys into the sham, there's no one around with the guts to notice the emperor's new clothes.
  • Then suddenly the emperor's new clothes slipped away and the lack of inventive creativity became obvious.



Pronunciation: /-ˌSHip/
Example sentences
  • The only check on that power is the spasmodic eruption of pseudo-scandal, a brief orgy of blood-letting as used to occur between emperorships in ancient Rome.
  • Helping him is Wu Yip, who has designs on the emperorship of China.
  • In this way, the astronomical clock and the water mill became two different embodiments of the same emperorship in science.


Middle English (especially representing the title given to the head of the Roman Empire): from Old French emperere, from Latin imperator 'military commander', from imperare 'to command', from in- 'toward' + parare 'prepare, contrive'.

  • The root of emperor is the Latin word imperare ‘to command’, which is also the ultimate source of empire (Middle English), imperative (mid 16th century), imperial (Late Middle English), and imperious (late 16th century). Latin imperator meant ‘military commander’, which was given as a title to Julius Caesar and to Augustus, the first Roman emperor, and was adopted by subsequent rulers of the empire. In English, emperor first referred to these Roman rulers, and then to the head of the Holy Roman Empire. See also evil

Words that rhyme with emperor

Klemperer, tempera, temperer

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: em·per·or

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