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

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 For the sake of goodness and love, man shall grant death no dominion over his thoughts. David Treuer, The New York Review of Books, "The Magic Mountains of the Acoma Pueblo and Thomas Mann," 6 July 2020 The Wolves are a paramilitary group that overwhelmed the army soon after the outbreak and now hold dominion over some parts of Seattle. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "The Last of Us Part II left us amazed, yet despondent," 15 June 2020 That, in turn, is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, an offshore dominion known for secrecy. Justin Elliott, ProPublica, "Steve Bannon’s Use of Private Jet Linked to Chinese Businessman Could Violate Campaign Finance Law," 26 Feb. 2020 The big question: who should have dominion over these Golcondas of the seas? Chad Lewis, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Shipwreck Off Florida’s Coast Pits Archaeologists Against Treasure Hunters," 30 Apr. 2017 Failure to build them, American astronomers say, would cede dominion over the skies to Europe, which is building its own behemoth observatory in Chile, and which will be available only to European researchers. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "American Astronomy’s Future Goes on Trial in Washington," 13 Mar. 2020 Typical officials and bureaucrats expand their dominions by adding subordinates and creating new departments and agencies. Garry Kasparov, The New York Review of Books, "A Popular Front to Stop Trump," 28 Jan. 2020 The call was the first between American and Taiwanese leaders since the U.S. recognized the CCP’s dominion over China, including Taiwan, in 1979. Time, "Taiwan Is the Last Free Place in the Chinese-Speaking World. Can President Tsai Ing-wen Preserve Its Democracy?," 9 Jan. 2020 In 1907, New Zealand went from being a colony to a dominion within the British Empire., "In 1777, British troops occupied Philadelphia during the American Revolution.," 26 Sep. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dominion

Last Updated

18 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dominion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for dominion


How to pronounce dominion (audio)

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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