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

Simple Definition of sovereignty

  • : unlimited power over a country

  • : a country's independent authority and the right to govern itself

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of sovereignty

plural sovereignties

  1. 1 obsolete :  supreme excellence or an example of it

  2. 2a :  supreme power especially over a body politicb :  freedom from external control :  autonomyc :  controlling influence

  3. 3 :  one that is sovereign; especially :  an autonomous state

Examples of sovereignty in a sentence

  1. Nor was the sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian race recognized at the time Hawaii became a state. —Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 18 July 2005

  2. Cesaire's wrenching chant of self-affirmation announced a new era of intellectual and cultural sovereignty for black writers in French. —Lila Azam Zanganeh, New York Times Book Review, 12 June 2005

  3. The position plunged him into a supremely complicated religious and political game. Throughout Europe the old order of divinely sanctioned kingdoms was battling models of popular sovereignty and citizenship inspired by the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the adolescent U.S. —David Van Biema, Time, 4 Sept. 2000

  4. <upon leaving home she felt that she had achieved sovereignty for the first time in her life>

  5. <as parts of the same sovereignty, the states should not enact laws intended to harm one another economically>

Variants of sovereignty

also play sovranty \ˈsä-v(ə-)rən-tē, -vərn-tē also ˈsə-\

Origin of sovereignty

Middle English soverainte, from Anglo-French sovereinté, from soverein (see 2sovereign)

First Known Use: 14th century

SOVEREIGNTY Defined for Kids


noun sov·er·eign·ty \ˈsä-və-rən-tē, ˈsä-vrən-\

Definition of sovereignty for Students

plural sovereignties

  1. 1 :  supreme power especially over a political unit (as a country)

  2. 2 :  a country's independent authority and right of self-control

Law Dictionary


noun sov·er·eign·ty \ˈsä-vrən-tē, ˈsə-, -və-rən-\

Legal Definition of sovereignty

plural sovereignties

  1. 1a :  supreme power especially over a body politic b :  freedom from external control :  autonomy

  2. 2 :  one that is sovereign; especially :  an autonomous state

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