divine right


Definition of divine right

: the right of a sovereign to rule as set forth by the theory of government that holds that a monarch receives the right to rule directly from God and not from the people

Examples of divine right in a Sentence

He ruled by divine right. My boss seems to think he has a divine right to order people around.
Recent Examples on the Web Charles was an ultra-royalist who believed in the divine right of kings. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Art for Sale in Maastricht: Quality, Quality, Quality," 11 Mar. 2020 David has invented a wholly new iconography for a modern ruler, bereft of the old monarchical symbols, in which authority derives not from divine right but from valor. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Two Napoleons in Brooklyn, One in Timberlands," 12 Feb. 2020 Political disputes were necessarily religious disputes, and the tyranny of ancient Egypt was therefore not merely political: Pharaoh’s boast was not divine right but divinity itself. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "This Pilgrim Republic," 28 Nov. 2019 This reform should weaken the notion that agents have a divine right to 5% or more. Chris Bryant | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Americans and Germans Are Being Fleeced by Real Estate Agents," 11 Oct. 2019 Those who believe in the divine right of kings will see a youth with royal blood running through him that is older even than England itself, that can be traced all the way back to the regal Ashanti. Zadie Smith, The New Yorker, "Stormzy at Glastonbury: King Michael Wears His Crown," 2 July 2019 The idea that rural white men are more virtuous, and thus more American, than other people is deeply embedded in our nation’s mythology, and aligned with perspectives that see white Anglo-Saxons as superior by divine right. Sarah Churchwell, The New York Review of Books, "America’s Original Identity Politics," 7 Feb. 2019 For Smith, markets exist not by divine right but because they have been shaped by human beings in ways that generate both private and public value. Jesse Norman, WSJ, "What Adam Smith Knew About Trade Wars," 23 Aug. 2018 Luckily, there's no mortal soul Meghan Markle can't charm — even those blessed by divine right. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Meghan Markle & The Queen Spent The Day Gossiping," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'divine right.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of divine right

circa 1600, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of divine right was circa 1600

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Cite this Entry

“Divine right.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divine%20right. Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for divine right

divine right


English Language Learners Definition of divine right

: the right that is supposedly given to a king or queen by God to rule a country
informal : the right to do or have something without having to ask permission

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