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

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 But Count Tolstoy insists that monarchists are not pining for the days of absolute rulers and the divine right of kings, when Henry VIII of England could order up the execution of unwanted wives and political foes. Leslie Wayne, New York Times, "What’s the Cure for Ailing Nations? More Kings and Queens, Monarchists Say," 6 Jan. 2018 Apparently much like the actual historical figure, K.K. Moggie's Mary is an old-style sovereign, mortified by her situation yet standing on the notion that divine right makes her immune to prosecution. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "Two British monarchs duke it out in Schiller’s Mary Stuart," 7 Mar. 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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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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a servile follower or underling

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