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

Of the more than 70 countries globally that criminalize homosexuality, more than half were once under British dominion., "Botswana’s High Court decriminalizes gay sex," 11 June 2019 Of the more than 70 countries globally that criminalize homosexuality, more than half were once under British dominion. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "In Landmark Ruling, Botswana Strikes Down Colonial-Era Law Criminalizing Homosexuality," 11 June 2019 Hopefully, those impulses do not include murdering your brother to reassert your dominion over the north of England. Allure, "The 23 Best Body-Care Products of 2019," 16 Sep. 2019 For the dominions of the People’s Republic of China, there is only one country, one system. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Help Hong Kong by Defending Taiwan," 24 Aug. 2019 Although Trump’s executive order is certain to face legal challenges, White House sources indicated that the President was ready to press forward with an additional order giving him dominion over all living things, the planets, and the stars. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, "Trump Signs Executive Order Giving Him Control of Weather," 10 Sep. 2019 For them, Mugabe’s victory marked the end of nine decades of privilege and dominion, dating back to the arrival of Cecil Rhodes and the British pioneers in the 1890s. Lily Rothman, Time, "Robert Mugabe Ruled Zimbabwe for Decades. Here's How He First Came to Power," 6 Sep. 2019 Since Israeli independence in 1948, the country’s presence in the region and dominion over Palestinian Arabs have fostered four major wars with Arab neighboring countries. David Mednicoff, The Conversation, "Why increasing Arab-Israeli closeness matters," 29 Aug. 2019 But the wholesale injection of facial hair into the American mainstream by veterans, law enforcement, and conservatives also fuels a familiar joyful cultural urge toward dominion and power. Adrian Bonenberger, The New Republic, "The Sum of All Beards," 4 June 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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Statistics for dominion

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

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
: 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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