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

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 The other two parts include Emperor Shaddam IV, the ruler who sent the Atreides family to Arrakis, and Princess Irulan, the emperor’s daughter. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Mar. 2022 Now a 21st-century boost has rekindled the French emperor’s sentiment, as Turkish Airlines has expanded routes with Ottoman-era zeal after Istanbul debuted a splashy new airport in 2018. Richard Morgan, WSJ, 4 Mar. 2022 After Brazil banned its slave trade in 1831, the Valongo Wharf was remade into a port to greet the Brazilian emperor’s future wife, an Italian princess. Washington Post, 17 Jan. 2022 The book was controversial, because the emperor’s speech was a collage from myriad sources in different contexts. New York Times, 27 Dec. 2021 Both a hallucinogen and an energy source, spice is mined in the deserts of the planet Arrakis, which has been colonized for that purpose and, at the emperor’s orders, run by the evil House Harkonnen. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 22 Oct. 2021 Ludwig was banished from Vienna for the remainder of the emperor’s life. NBC News, 18 Oct. 2021 The stock market these days might remind some people of that old story about the emperor’s new suit. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 Photographers were invited to record the emperor’s dignified defiance of the military might of a modern European power. Colin Grant, The New York Review of Books, 23 Apr. 2020 See More

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.

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

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emperor boa

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Emperor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emperor. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for emperor


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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