\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

Besides her mother, grandmother, aunts, and sister (who all received it in the first year of her reign), new in-laws typically wait years before receiving it themselves. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The First Photos of Kate Middleton Wearing an Special Honor From the Queen Are Breathtaking," 24 Oct. 2018 Akihito visited China early in his reign and has traveled to some of the harshest World War II battlefields in the Pacific. Fox News, "Japanese emperor tries to make amends for his father's war," 15 Aug. 2018 If the economy remains strong, if the U.S. is not mired in an unpopular war, and if the Mueller investigation fails to draw impeachable blood, Trump could be in a strong position to lock down his reign in 2020. Logan Jenkins,, "For true moderates, New Yorker tops Dem dream ticket," 9 July 2018 So is the reign of coach Mike Holmgren, who brought the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl, and coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, who led them to two more, including the title in the 2013 season. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "Paul Allen was a knight in shining armor for the Seahawks and Seattle," 15 Oct. 2018 As Queen of the sartorial risk, Lady Gaga will take the reigns for the night alongside Harry Styles, also well-known for his love of flamboyancy and pushing the boundaries of typical menswear and gender through clothing. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Lady Gaga Will Host Next Year's Met Gala With Harry Styles and Serena Williams," 10 Oct. 2018 Wolber took the reigns at Crystal just nine months ago after years as a top executive at Disney Cruise Line and other divisions of Disney. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "New Crystal Cruises river ship, Crystal Ravel, christened on Danube," 11 July 2018 Broken by Matt Law of The Telegraph, Sarri will take over the reigns as head coach at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea prepare for the start of pre-season when the players not involved at the World Cup return on the 9th July., "Chelsea Expected to Appoint Antonio Conte's Successor in the Coming Days (Again)," 1 July 2018 Having your company take the reigns might seem like an overreach, but there's a good reason for doing so., "5 Reasons To Set Up An Automatic Savings Deduction," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That’s despite the Rams having Aaron Donald, the reigning defensive MVP. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Chiefs vs. Rams Is Your Monday Night Plan," 18 Nov. 2018 The two contestants, both in their mid-20s, were the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen (then and now the reigning champion) and Russia’s Sergey Karjakin. Brad Leithauser, WSJ, "‘The Grandmaster’ Review: The 64-Square Universe," 8 Nov. 2018 Still though, there's no denying that the reigning Mirror Ball champion is a very talented performer. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Everything to Know About the 'Dancing with the Stars Juniors' Cast and Judges," 2 Aug. 2018 Many of the league’s teams returned, such as reigning champions Team Solomid, and popular squads like Team Echo Fox, backed by former NBA player Rick Fox, and Cloud9. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Why competitive gaming is starting to look a lot like professional sports," 27 July 2018 Gurley, meanwhile, tied for third among running backs — after Le'Veon Bell and David Johnson (more on that later) — despite being the league's reigning offense player of the year after leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage and TDs. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "'Madden NFL 19' player ratings: 9 head-turning observations include slight to Eli Manning," 12 July 2018 For the second time in Houston sports history, the reigning Major League Baseball and NBA most valuable players both reside in Houston. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets' James Harden joins list of Houston's all-time MVPs," 25 June 2018 Running back Todd Gurley, the reigning NFL offensive player of the year, is entering the fourth year of his rookie contract. Gary Klein,, "New Rams Suh, Peters, Talib and Cooks look like super additions so far," 14 June 2018 But this year the financial penalty probably won’t factor into the decision for the reigning NFL defensive player of the year, a four-year veteran capable of resetting the market for players other than quarterbacks. Dan Woike & Gary Klein,, "Chargers ready for quiet minicamp; Rams likely missing Aaron Donald," 11 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

1 Dec 2018

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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

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