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

Definition of emperor

: 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 emperorship (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

Japan’s new emperor pledged to be a symbol of peace and national unity in his first public remarks after taking the throne. Peter Landers, WSJ, "Japan’s New Emperor Ascends to Chrysanthemum Throne After Father Abdicates," 30 Apr. 2019 In the dining room, Jayne had placed on an easel an 1810 picture by Louis Leopold Boilly depicting the great and the good of Napoleon’s court—including the artist himself—admiring the unveiling of David’s epic painting of their emperor’s coronation. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Remembers Jayne Wrightsman, Esteemed Arts Connoisseur and Legendary Hostess," 24 Apr. 2019 Eventually, Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew and adopted heir, would rise from the chaos as Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "So, What Exactly Are the Ides of March?," 15 Mar. 2019 Though nothing official has been confirmed, THR speculates Jet Li may play the powerful emperor of China in the film. Megan Decker, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything We Know About Disney's Live-Action Reboot of Mulan," 13 Apr. 2018 Each one was painted in extremely expensive lacquer and was positioned to protect the emperor in the afterlife. Charles E. F. Millard, National Review, "China’s Strength Mustn’t Blind Us to Its Totalitarian Brutality," 15 Feb. 2018 Each emperor has a corresponding era name, and calendars must be updated to reflect that new name. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Now it’s Office’s turn to have a load of patches pulled," 20 Nov. 2018 When the emperor refused, a squadron of Britain’s most up-to-date warships arrived in 1840 to brush aside the Celestial Empire’s junks and blast its coastal towns into ruins. Ian Morris, New York Times, "The Opium War and the Humiliation of China," 2 July 2018 The president seems to believe that a minority of U.S. voters elected him to be an emperor. Alan S. Blinder, WSJ, "An Independent Fed Isn’t ‘Loco,’ It’s Effective," 23 Jan. 2019

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 above

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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Statistics for emperor

Last Updated

3 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for emperor

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

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More Definitions for emperor



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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