\ ˈrān \

Definition of reign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : royal authority : sovereignty under the reign of the Stuart kings
b : the dominion, sway, or influence of one resembling a monarch the reign of the Puritan ministers
2 : the time during which someone (such as a sovereign) reigns


reigned; reigning; reigns

Definition of reign (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to possess or exercise sovereign power : rule
b : to hold office as chief of state although possessing little governing power in England the sovereign reigns but does not rule
2 : to exercise authority in the manner of a monarch
3 : to be predominant or prevalent chaos reigned in the classroom

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Examples of reign in a Sentence


She was a popular ruler throughout her reign. the reign of Queen Elizabeth his reign as department chairperson her reign as team president his reign as heavyweight boxing champion the reign of digital technology


The king reigned in a time of peace and prosperity. The lion reigns as king of the jungle.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Wes Wing Designer Wes Gordon takes the reigns at Carolina Herrera A spring 2019 gown. Chloe Malle, WSJ, "How Designer Wes Gordon is Reimagining Carolina Herrera for the Next Generation," 6 Dec. 2018 Crucial to Sheba’s reign was said to to be the Kingdom’s Temple, documented to have once been her throne, internationally lauded for its majestic entrance, magnificent pillars and great annexes. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Archaeologists fear biblical artifacts, monuments won't survive Yemen war," 9 Aug. 2018 In addition, accusations circulating within Nissan about Mr. Ghosn’s hidden pay and lavish spending at the company’s expense were mixing with deep discontent over his long reign over the auto maker. William Boston, WSJ, "Ghosn’s U.S. Push Irked Nissan Executives," 18 Dec. 2018 The Queen has long been a fan of horseback riding, and has often been photographed with horses throughout her long reign. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Queen Elizabeth, 92, Went Horseback Riding This Weekend—What Did You Do?," 19 Nov. 2018 Earlier in her reign, Elizabeth broke tradition by welcoming her husband, Prince Philip, into the delivery room for the birth of their youngest child, Prince Edward. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Is Following in Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana's Footsteps by Breaking Royal Protocol," 29 Sep. 2018 But make no mistake: On September 4, Rancic returned to her reign on the nightly show, alongside co-host Jason Kennedy. Elizabeth Kiefer, Glamour, "Giuliana Rancic's New Plan: Let Celebrities Talk About—Gasp—Themselves," 11 Sep. 2018 The Spanish molecular gastronomy restaurant elBulli (now closed) was considered the height of cuisine during its reign, and its head chef, Ferran Adrià, was lionzed as a legend. Katie Walsh,, "Review: Documentary 'Constructing Albert' follows a chef's quest for perfection," 12 July 2018 King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who ascended to the throne in 2016, has engaged with the public more intensely during the caving crisis than at any time during his brief reign. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Stateless and Poor, Some Boys in Thai Cave Had Already Beaten Long Odds," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Globe’s reigning Division 2 Player of the Year, she is headed to Holy Cross in the fall. Dan Shulman,, "A striking senior run for Norton’s Kelly Nelson," 30 May 2018 The 12-time reigning Division III national champion Sea Gulls (15-3) will get back senior midfielder Garrett Reynolds (29 goals, three assists), who sat out Tuesday’s 14-3 rout of Christopher Newport (14-4) because of a concussion. Edward Lee,, "Men’s lacrosse notes: Salisbury looking forward to 'opportunity' against York," 4 May 2018 Senior shortstop Emily Young is signed with Stanford and is the two-time reigning GGCL player of the year. Adam Baum,, "Preview: Soggy start can't deter local softball teams in search of diamond dominance," 2 Apr. 2018 But digital platforms must go further than television reigning in dark money. Anthony Nadler, WIRED, "Facebook and Google Must Ban Ads From Dark Money Groups," 21 Mar. 2018 While the quality of spa treatments varies drastically from hammam to hammam, here an air of quiet professionalism reigns. Beth Kracklauer, WSJ, "The Secret Spas of Paris," 13 Mar. 2018 More than two years ago, the U.S. lost to Sweden on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics, a dispiriting loss for the reigning World Cup champion. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Draws Favorable World Cup Group," 8 Dec. 2018 The Saints have one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, both reigning rookies of the year and one of the top pass rushers in the league. Jonathan Jones,, "NFC South Offseason Report Cards: Bucs, Saints Boost Defense; Falcons Brace for Negotiations with Julio Jones," 26 June 2018 Oh, sure, Clayton Kershaw is headed back to the disabled list - with a quartet of starters keeping him company there - and reigning Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger was benched at Coors Field over the weekend. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "MLB power rankings: Once-dismal Dodgers continue climb toward top," 4 June 2018

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


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

History and Etymology for reign


Middle English regne, from Anglo-French, from Latin regnum, from reg-, rex king — more at royal

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Statistics for reign

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for reign

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

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More Definitions for reign



English Language Learners Definition of reign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the period of time during which a king, queen, emperor, etc., is ruler of a country

: the period of time during which someone is in charge of a group or organization

: the period of time during which someone or something is the best or the most important, powerful, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of reign (Entry 2 of 2)

: to rule as a king, queen, emperor, etc.

: to be the best or the most powerful or important person or thing

—used to say that a quality exists to such a degree in a place or situation that it affects everything about that place or situation


\ ˈrān \

Kids Definition of reign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the authority or rule of a monarch
2 : the time during which a monarch rules


reigned; reigning

Kids Definition of reign (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to rule as a monarch
2 : to be usual or widespread Enthusiasm reigned in the classroom.
3 : to be the best or most powerful the reigning champions

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More from Merriam-Webster on reign

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reign

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reign

Spanish Central: Translation of reign

Nglish: Translation of reign for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reign for Arabic Speakers

Comments on reign

What made you want to look up reign? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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