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

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 The Kim family asserts its legitimacy to lead North Korea through a kind of divine right purportedly bestowed from Mount Paektu, a volcano on the border with China that has mythical status in Korean culture. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "Kim Jong Un to send his sister to South Korea as part of Olympic delegation," 7 Feb. 2018 By divine right of mayoralty, or someone, 13 vehicles waited at the curb in a no-standing zone, among them four black S.U.V.s (three Chevy Suburbans and one Yukon XL) an ambulance, a huge E.M.S. vehicle and a police school safety van. Jim Dwyer, New York Times, "Battling Climate Change from the Back Seat of an S.U.V.," 11 Jan. 2018 But right now, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child seizes the stage by divine right. Abby Jones, Billboard, "'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' Broadway Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying," 23 Apr. 2018 But the tapestry suggests, too, that William won by divine right. Washington Post, "France’s epic Bayeux Tapestry is headed to Britain, in a loan for the ages," 18 Jan. 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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Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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The first known use of divine right was circa 1600

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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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with divine right

Comments on divine right

What made you want to look up divine right? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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