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noun sov·er·eign \ˈsä-v(ə-)rən, -vərn also ˈsə-\

Simple Definition of sovereign

  • : a king or queen

  • : a British gold coin that was used in the past

Full Definition of sovereign

  1. 1a :  one possessing or held to possess supreme political power or sovereigntyb :  one that exercises supreme authority within a limited spherec :  an acknowledged leader :  arbiter

  2. 2 :  any of various gold coins of the United Kingdom

Examples of sovereign

  1. Ricky Martin, sovereign of Latin pop culture, is back. —Raquel Cepeda, Vibe, May 1999

  2. During these two centuries the throne of Scotland was occupied by no more than seven sovereigns of only four different generations. —G.W.S. Barrow, The Anglo-Norman Era In Scottish History, 1980

  3. <after the current sovereign dies, the monarchy may be abolished>

Variants of sovereign

also sov·ran play \ˈsä-v(ə-)rən, -vərn also ˈsə-\

Origin of sovereign

Middle English soverain, from Anglo-French soverein, from soverein, adjective (see 2sovereign)

First Known Use: 13th century



adjective sov·er·eign \ˈsä-v(ə-)rən, -vərn also ˈsə-\

Simple Definition of sovereign

  • : having unlimited power or authority

  • : not limited

  • : having independent authority and the right to govern itself

Full Definition of sovereign

  1. 1a :  superlative in qualityb :  of the most exalted kind :  supreme <sovereign virtue>c :  having generalized curative powers <a sovereign remedy>d :  of an unqualified nature :  unmitigated <sovereign contempt>e :  having undisputed ascendancy :  paramount

  2. 2a :  possessed of supreme power <a sovereign ruler>b :  unlimited in extent :  absolutec :  enjoying autonomy :  independent <sovereign states>

  3. 3 :  relating to, characteristic of, or befitting a supreme ruler :  royal <a sovereign right>

sov·er·eign·ly adverb

Examples of sovereign

  1. Local officials and a huge and enthusiastic crowd greeted Napoleon at the Portoferraio harbor. The Allies had granted him the title of Emperor of Elba, which was to be a sovereign state under his jurisdiction. —David Pryce-Jones, National Review, 4 July 2005

  2. If Cleopatra VII used her own personality more like Elizabeth I than Elizabeth II, she seems to have had the latter Elizabeth's sovereign sense of duty—as well as her fertility: With a dispatch usually associated with the gods, Cleopatra bore Caesar a son called Caesarion—“little Caesar”—in 47 B.C.E., the year after they met (she was twenty-one, he fifty-two). —Ingrid D. Rowland, New Republic, 1 & 8 April 2002

  3. the sovereign power of a king

  4. The government's sovereign duty is to protect the rights of its citizens.

Variants of sovereign

also sov·ran play \ˈsä-v(ə-)rən, -vərn also ˈsə-\

Origin of sovereign

Middle English soverain, from Anglo-French soverein, from Vulgar Latin *superanus, from Latin super over, above — more at over

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of sovereign

free, independent, sovereign, autonomous mean not subject to the rule or control of another. free stresses the complete absence of external rule and the full right to make all of one's own decisions <you're free to do as you like>. independent implies a standing alone; applied to a state it implies lack of connection with any other having power to interfere with its citizens, laws, or policies <the colony's struggle to become independent>. sovereign stresses the absence of a superior power and implies supremacy within a thing's own domain or sphere <separate and sovereign armed services>. autonomous stresses independence in matters pertaining to self-government <in this denomination each congregation is regarded as autonomous>.

free, release, liberate, emancipate, manumit mean to set loose from restraint or constraint. free implies a usually permanent removal from whatever binds, confines, entangles, or oppresses <freed the animals from their cages>. release suggests a setting loose from confinement, restraint, or a state of pressure or tension, often without implication of permanent liberation <released his anger on a punching bag>. liberate stresses particularly the resulting state of liberty <liberated their country from the tyrant>. emancipate implies the liberation of a person from subjection or domination <labor-saving devices emancipated us from household drudgery>. manumit implies emancipation from slavery <the document manumitted the slaves>.

Medical Dictionary


adjective sov·er·eign \ˈsäv-(ə-)rən\

Medical Definition of sovereign

  1. :  having generalized curative powers <a sovereign remedy>

Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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