em·​per·​or | \ ˈem-pər-ər How to pronounce emperor (audio) , -prər \

Definition of emperor

1 : the sovereign or supreme male monarch of an empire

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Other Words from emperor

emperorship \ ˈem-​pər-​ər-​ˌship How to pronounce emperor (audio) , -​prər-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

The words emperor, caesar, czar, and Kaiser all go back to one source: the title of the first Roman emperor, Imperator Caesar Augustus. Augustus was the adopted son of the Roman general and ruler Julius Caesar and he took the name Caesar as part of his official name. Later Roman emperors did the same, and thus caesar came to mean “an emperor of Rome.” The word caesar was borrowed into German and other Germanic languages as Kaiser, which is how we get the word kaiser for “a ruler in Germany.” Through the Russian word tsar, which also came from kaiser, we got our word czar, meaning “a ruler in Russia.” The word emperor can be traced through French to Latin imperator. Imperator was a title given to great Roman generals and meant “commander,” from the verb imperare “to command.”

Examples of emperor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That is, until someone points out that the emperor has no clothes and that the dollar no longer has value. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Rand Paul," 25 Dec. 2020 After disembarking Emperor, weak-kneed riders can waddle to an exhibit and see actual emperor penguins, for which the coaster is named. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Most-anticipated roller coasters of 2021 at Universal Orlando, on a Carnival cruise ship and more," 22 Dec. 2020 For centuries, the casques have been carved by artisans into elaborate trinkets and ornaments; in the 14th century, Southeast Asian kingdoms paid tribute to the Chinese emperor with gifts of hornbill casques. Yao-hua Law, The Atlantic, "Helmeted Hornbills Are Very Picky About Their Nests," 16 Dec. 2020 The emperor at the time was Claudius, easily swayed. Gaia Squarci, Smithsonian Magazine, "The New, Nicer Nero," 18 Sep. 2020 The Mughal emperor Humayun chilled summer fruit juice into a frozen sherbet in the mid-1500s. Tulasi Srinivas, The Conversation, "The icy backstory to that ‘clink clink’ you’ll hear when raising a toast to the end of 2020," 23 Dec. 2020 Eventually, on the orders of the new emperor, China’s fleet, which had numbered at as many as 3,500 ships, was burned. Daniel Yergin, The Atlantic, "The Ghosts Who Haunt the South China Sea," 15 Dec. 2020 Krebs did nothing more than tell the truths that Trump is trying to ignore; he was fired for almost literally pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. Garrett M. Graff, Wired, "Firing Christopher Krebs Crosses a Line—Even for Trump," 17 Nov. 2020 Rarely is it mentioned that the chrysanthemum is also a symbol of long life and the signature of the emperor. New York Times, "The Appealing and Potentially Lethal Delicacy That Is Fugu," 4 Dec. 2020

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for emperor

Middle English emperour, borrowed from Anglo-French empereor, amperour, going back to Latin imperātōr-, imperātor "person giving orders, commanding officer, title of honor bestowed on a victorious general by his troops, title conferred by the Roman senate on Julius Caesar and Augustus and adopted by later successors," from imperāre "to demand the production of, levy, give orders, exercise authority, hold political power" (from im- in- entry 2 + parāre "to supply, provide, make ready") + -tōr-, -tor, agent suffix — more at pare

Note: See note at pare.

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Time Traveler for emperor

Time Traveler

The first known use of emperor was in the 13th century

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Statistics for emperor

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Emperor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emperor. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for emperor


How to pronounce emperor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of emperor

: a man who rules an empire


em·​per·​or | \ ˈem-pər-ər How to pronounce emperor (audio) \

Kids Definition of emperor

: a man who rules an empire

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