noun do·min·ion \ də-ˈmi-nyən \
|Updated on: 2 Aug 2018

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

Examples of dominion in a Sentence

  1. The U.S. has dominion over the island.

  2. The countries fought for dominion of the territory.

  3. the dominions of the empire

Recent Examples of dominion from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of dominion

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

DOMINION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of dominion for English Language Learners

  • : 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

DOMINION Defined for Kids


noun do·min·ion \ də-ˈmin-yən \

Definition of dominion for Students

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

Word Root of dominion

The Latin word dominus, meaning “master,” gives us the root domin. Words from the Latin dominus have something to do with being another's master. To dominate is to have power and control over as if being someone's master. A domain, or land under the control of a government, is a land with a particular master or ruler. Dominion is controlling power, similar to the power of a master over others.

Law Dictionary


noun do·min·ion \ də-ˈmin-yən \

legal Definition of dominion

1 a : 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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excessive admiration or flattery

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