do·​min·​ion | \də-ˈmi-nyən \

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

Did You Know?

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

The things fathers pass on to their sons extend far beyond the dominion of the Y chromosome. New York Times, "What My Father Gave Me," 16 June 2018 The timing of Everything is Love points to the couple's desire for dominion over the summer -- one already filled with high-profile releases -- and predominance over the culture. Max Cea, Billboard, "With 'Everything Is Love,' Beyoncé and JAY-Z Flex on Kanye West and the World," 17 June 2018 After Britain granted Canada dominion status in 1867, and the line along the 49th was marked in 1873, Canadians and their North-West Mounted Police let it be known that the border was real. Porter Fox, Outside Online, "Exploring America's Forgotten Border," 1 June 2018 And both, in a way, express the same sort of dominion. Rob Mahoney,, "The Long Shadow of LeBron Hangs Over Another Raptors Season," 7 May 2018 No one considered the hardline conservative Senator Sessions, who would through debacles of politics and personality cults, have dominion over the country’s legal system in just two years. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "On Sending Women Home to Die," 18 June 2018 The lawsuit's allegations include fraud and claims that Jaques converted, commingled and exercised personal dominion over funds that Paradigm Entities was bound to hold in trust for the plaintiffs and their tenants. Ruth Brown, idahostatesman, "Lawsuit accuses Meridian-based property management LLC of embezzling up to $1 million," 27 June 2018 What Sessions said boils down to this: God has dominion over everything, and the government exists only through God’s grace, so therefore the government is an extension of God and should never be challenged. Jason Johnson, The Root, "Jeff Sessions Quotes the Bible to Justify Abusing Immigrants; God Laughs," 15 June 2018 The concert's hip-hop lineup of contemporary game-changers offered a vibrant reminder of not only Latin artists' dominion in digital streams, but the culture in which music lovers unify with globally. Bianca Alysse, Billboard, "A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Bad Bunny & Jaden Smith Dazzle at Soulfrito Fest 2018 in NY," 10 June 2018

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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Statistics for dominion

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dominion

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

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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

Dominion : a country that was part of the British Empire but had its own government


do·​min·​ion | \də-ˈmin-yən \

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 \

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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Comments on dominion

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


to express warning or disapproval

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