em·​pire | \ˈem-ˌpī(-ə)r \

Definition of empire 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority especially : one having an emperor as chief of state

(2) : the territory of such a political unit

b : something resembling a political empire especially : an extensive territory or enterprise under single domination or control

2 : imperial sovereignty, rule, or dominion

3 capitalized [ Empire State, nickname for New York ] : a juicy apple with dark red skin that is a cross between a McIntosh apple and a Red Delicious apple


Em·​pire | \ˈäm-ˌpir, ˈem-ˌpī(-ə)r \

Definition of Empire (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or characteristic of a style (as of clothing or furniture) popular in early 19th century France

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Synonyms for empire

Synonyms: Noun


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Examples of empire in a Sentence


She built a tiny business into a worldwide empire. He controlled a cattle empire in the heart of Texas.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But they were excited to learn about Mansa Musa, who ruled the Mali Empire starting in 1312 and was awash in wealth while his empire was expanding across West Africa. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "A.P. World History Tries to Trim Thousands of Years, and Educators Revolt," 21 June 2018 Unwinding the empire Commercial real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield is selling nine office properties totaling more than 1 million square feet in San Antonio and Houston. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Real estate tycoon Cotter leaves behind tangled empire, fight over assets after his death," 11 June 2018 To the Nazis, a media empire run by liberal Jews was a grave offense and a threat, and the Reich frequently singled out the Mosse family as a public menace. Berthold Steinhilber, Smithsonian, "The Lost Maidens of Berlin," 24 May 2018 His culinary empire was vast, with his brand spanning dozens of restaurants in six U.S. states and Singapore, and his name attached to several culinary products. Samantha Masunaga, latimes.com, "Mario Batali faces sexual misconduct investigation; B&B Hospitality and Eataly are cutting ties with him," 21 May 2018 The Srivijaya empire, a formidable maritime power based on Sumatra, was in decline, and other coastal powers in the region were vying for its former supremacy. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "An 800-year-old label may rewrite the history of a Java Sea shipwreck," 16 May 2018 In Uber’s defense, some might say Khosrowshahi’s kingdom of motion is a more manageable realm than Yahoo’s Internet empire ever was. Owen Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, "Uber is branching out. Is it more like Amazon or Yahoo?," 26 Apr. 2018 Encouraged, Croesus took up the battle only to discover at Sardis that the empire to be destroyed was his own. Rabbi David Wolpe, Time, "Why We Shouldn't Be So Sure of Our Predictions About the Future," 20 Apr. 2018 The Comme des Garçons empire is sprouting another arm, this time in the form of an online-only direct-to-consumer brand, WWD reports. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Even Comme des Garçons Is Launching a Direct-to-Consumer Brand," 2 Apr. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1852, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for empire


Middle English, "supreme power, position of an emperor, territory under an emperor's rule," borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin imperium "authority over family members and slaves exercised by the head of a household, supreme administrative authority, dominion, power exercised by a Roman emperor," from imperāre "to give orders, exercise authority, hold political power" + -ium, deverbal suffix of function or state — more at emperor


French, from (le premier) Empire the first Empire of France

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Statistics for empire

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for empire

The first known use of empire was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for empire


em·​pire | \ˈem-ˌpīr \

Kids Definition of empire

1 : a group of territories or peoples under one ruler the Roman empire

2 : a country whose ruler is called an emperor

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Comments on empire

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