\ ˈrān How to pronounce reign (audio) \

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

Lengthy reigns at the top may be the next thing to get disrupted. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "New Consumer CEOs Are Getting Tougher, Shorter Jobs," 15 Feb. 2019 The Hollywood Reporter reports that Hannah Marks will take the directorial reigns on the upcoming Fox 2000 film, which will be produced by Green, Rosianna Halse Rojas, Isaac Klausner and Marty Bowen. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Hannah Marks to Direct Film Adaptation of John Green's "Turtles All the Way Down"," 13 Jan. 2019 In a time when ultra-bright white rooms reign supreme on Instagram, many of us might be afraid of color or pattern being too overwhelming. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "Why You Should Wallpaper Your Ceiling," 14 Dec. 2018 Now, in the show’s final season, Claire holds the reigns. Lonnie Firestone, Glamour, "House of Cards' Final Season Is About Women Gaining Power—at the Expense of Other Women," 10 Nov. 2018 With Christopher Bailey's departure after 17-years at the heritage brand, the reigns were passed on to Givenchy's former Creative Director Riccardo Tisci. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riccardo Tisci's Burberry is Taking Over Hollywood," 2 Nov. 2018 With the 49ers being picked by many experts as a playoff contender, the team is faced with handing Beathard the reigns or turning to a quarterback who has a winning pedigree in San Francisco. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Colin Kaepernick comeback campaign undertaken by 49ers fans after gruesome Garoppolo injury," 24 Sep. 2018 Grafton Tanner has a critique of the Time Well Spent movement from the left: In a time when free-market capitalism is the only game in town, massively centralized tech companies have virtually unfettered reign. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Twitter’s case for keeping Alex Jones is falling apart," 10 Aug. 2018 Ikea tapped Dutch design duo Scholten & Baijings to reimagine a handful of classic products, giving them full reign on pieces like the Klippan love seat and the Poäng chair. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Ikea ‘hacks’ its iconic designs in new line," 2 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The oldest item in the show is a 12th-century parchment papal bull, signed by the reigning pope, Anastasius IV; three future popes; one future antipope; and one future saint. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, "Not Your Average Autograph Collection," 12 July 2018 The Eagles’ offense has true weapons, starting with reigning ACC Rookie of the Year running back A.J. Dillon. Julian Benbow,, "BC quarterback Anthony Brown nearly ready after knee surgery," 4 July 2018 Yorgos Lanthimos’ irresistibly nasty tale of lust, power and pet bunnies in the court of England’s Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), who reigned in the early years of the 18th century. Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times, "‘The Favourite’ review: an irresistibly nasty tale of lust, power and pet bunnies," 4 Dec. 2018 Unlike Pokémon Go, players aren’t expected to fight other devoted Catholics to reign supreme. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "A new Pokémon Go clone lets players collect Catholic saints instead of monsters," 24 Oct. 2018 Her older sister, Princess Beatrice, is eighth in line for the throne, though neither is expected to ever reign. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Who Is Today's Royal Bride, Princess Eugenie?," 12 Oct. 2018 In the trailer, Mary Stuart returns to her native Scotland, now under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. Mary hopes to reign in Scotland harmoniously, despite pressures from patriarchal counsels to pursue war. Jillian Forstadt, The Hollywood Reporter, "Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie Face Off for Throne in 'Mary Queen of Scots' Trailer," 12 July 2018 The Warriors, with a million centers but really none, are expected to reign for at least two or three more years. Bruce Jenkins,, "As the Warriors go their way, the big men multiply," 23 June 2018 The proposal is the latest attempt by European governments to reign in US technology giants. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Europe Considers a New Copyright Law. Here's Why That Matters," 20 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

10 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce reign (audio) \

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).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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