do·​min·​ion | \ də-ˈmi-nyən How to pronounce dominion (audio) \

Definition of dominion

1 : domain
2 law : supreme authority : sovereignty having dominion over the natural world
3 dominions plural, Christianity : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
4 often capitalized, government : a self-governing nation of the Commonwealth of Nations other than the United Kingdom that acknowledges the British monarch as chief of state
5 law : absolute ownership

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Choose the Right Synonym for dominion

power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence. the power to mold public opinion authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits. granted the authority to manage her estate jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits. the bureau having jurisdiction over parks control stresses the power to direct and restrain. you are responsible for the students under your control command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience. the army officer in command sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence. the empire extended its sway over the region dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority. given dominion over all the animals

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The ruler of a region has dominion over it, and the area itself may be called the ruler's dominion. In the days of the British Empire, Great Britain had dominion over many countries throughout the world. Though Canada has been quite independent of Great Britain since the 19th century, its formal title remains Dominion of Canada. The word has an old-fashioned sound today, and probably shows up in history books, historical novels, and fantasy video games more often than in discussions of modern nations.

Examples of dominion in a Sentence

The U.S. has dominion over the island. The countries fought for dominion of the territory. the dominions of the empire
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Recent Examples on the Web At the time, this was a dominion—a self-governing entity within the British Empire with English and Afrikaner populations. Evert Kleynhans, Quartz, 15 May 2021 Israeli dominion over all aspects of Palestinian life doesn’t start and stop. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 24 May 2021 Upper air is the domain of F-35s and spy planes, while lower air is the dominion of helicopters and drones. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 2021 Undersized outfielders and prospects from the Northeast are both more the dominion of the previous Orioles front office than this one, but Frelick would likely be in the mix here as well. Jon Meoli,, 14 May 2021 Along the way, Amar delivers brilliant chestnuts of interpretation, arguing for instance that revolutionary Americans experimented with ideas that anticipated some elements of the British dominion system. Washington Post, 14 May 2021 Past efforts by Beijing to impose its will on global internet architecture have largely failed because of the controls, including national-security laws that grant the government dominion over all data generated in the country. James T. Areddy, WSJ, 11 May 2021 The glory of the book lies in her dominion over her own hours. Claire Dederer, The Atlantic, 4 May 2021 In this situation, Samantha gains dominion and control over BCH on January 1, 2018. Shehan Chandrasekera, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dominion.' 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 dominion

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dominion

Middle English dominioun, from Middle French dominion, modification of Latin dominium, from dominus — see dominical

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Time Traveler for dominion

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The first known use of dominion was in the 14th century

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Statistics for dominion

Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dominion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for dominion



English Language Learners Definition of dominion

: the power to rule : control of a country, region, etc.
: the land that a ruler or government controls
: a country that was part of the British Empire but had its own government


do·​min·​ion | \ də-ˈmin-yən How to pronounce dominion (audio) \

Kids Definition of dominion

1 : ruling or controlling power : sovereignty … the whole country was my own property, so that I had an undoubted right of dominion.— Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
2 : a territory under the control of a ruler : domain


do·​min·​ion | \ də-ˈmin-yən How to pronounce dominion (audio) \

Legal Definition of dominion

1a : supreme authority : sovereignty
b : a territory over which such authority is exercised
c often capitalized : a self-governing nation (as Canada) of the British Commonwealth other than the United Kingdom that acknowledges the British monarch as the head of state
2 : the power (as authority) or right (as ownership) to use or dispose of property specifically : absolute or exclusive use, control, ownership, or possession of property the transferred property is placed beyond the donor's dominion and control — W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al. the bailee exercised dominion over the vehicle


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