\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Five words that arguably sum up Sam Allardyce's short, but sweet(?), reign in charge of his own country's national side., "Three Years On: How 2019 England Might Have Looked if Sam Allardyce Was Still in Charge," 4 Sep. 2019 The coins, which are being analyzed by experts at the National Museum of Scotland, resemble English monarch King Edward I, whose reign lasted from 1271 to 1307. Fox News, "Metal detector enthusiast uncovers amazing trove of coins on ancient, bloody battlesite," 30 Aug. 2019 In high school athletics, nothing stays the same forever and every reign eventually comes to an end. Tim Schwartz,, "Howard County volleyball teams still chasing Atholton, Glenelg entering 2019 season," 28 Aug. 2019 Volkswagen expanded its reach at both ends of the market during Piech's reign. Geir Moulson,, "Volkswagen patriarch, ‘an enthusiastic engineer and car lover until the end,’ dies at 82," 27 Aug. 2019 While some of Green's non-historic projects, like Sassafras Saloon on Vine, require an exceptional tolerance for twee, at the Formosa a nuanced sense of vintage and contemporary kitsch reigns. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, "Formosa Cafe: Dining Review," 23 Aug. 2019 Then came the telecoms bust of 2001, almost as abrupt as the end of Didius Julianus, whose reign lasted all of nine weeks. The Economist, "Vodafone’s search for the G-spot," 22 Aug. 2019 Sophomore Zion Turner gets the reigns to the Raiders’ offense, and he’ll be immediately thrown into the fire. Adam Lichtenstein,, "Week 1 high school football predictions in Broward and Palm Beach counties," 21 Aug. 2019 Big bodies kind of reign supreme during that run for those teams., "For first time in his career, Juwan Johnson at slot in Oregon skyscrapers receiving package," 15 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What will Texas A&M need to do in order to break past the reigning champs this time around? Joan Niesen,, "Three Keys to Clemson-Texas A&M: Can the Aggies Contain Trevor Lawrence?," 6 Sep. 2019 As an encore, Edwards, who returns with reigning Pac-12 rushing champ Eno Benjamin, starts the first true freshman at quarterback in school history in Jayden Daniels. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Herm Edwards brings Marvin Lewis to Arizona State to 'help me coach the coaches'," 28 Aug. 2019 Williams announced his decision today in a broadcast on Central-Phenix City’s Facebook page, picking the reigning national champ over finalists Alabama, Auburn and LSU. Josh Bean |, al, "4-star WR E.J. Williams picks Clemson over Alabama and Auburn," 24 Aug. 2019 After handily winning Zegama back in early June, Jornet proceeded to break the course record at Sierre-Zinal, vanquishing reigning Western States champ Jim Walmsley in the process. Martin Fritz Huber, Outside Online, "Will Kilian Jornet Break Running’s Toughest Record?," 23 Aug. 2019 Northwestern is the reigning Class 6A champs, while Cardinal Gibbons took home the 5A title. Adam Lichtenstein,, "Week 1 high school football predictions in Broward and Palm Beach counties," 21 Aug. 2019 Procreate and Clip Studio are the reigning champs used by tons of different digital artists, and for good reason. Jess Grey, WIRED, "iPad Artists, Don't Brush Off Adobe Fresco," 16 Aug. 2019 When Netflix won as many awards as reigning champ HBO at last year’s Emmys, some read it as a sign: Not only was broadcast TV dead, but premium cable was faltering as well. Los Angeles Times, "Column: HBO’s Casey Bloys isn’t worried about AT&T, Netflix or the end of ‘Game of Thrones’," 9 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, the Netherlands are Europe's reigning champs. Leah Asmelash And Nadeem Muaddi, CNN, "An American guide to watching the 2019 Women's World Cup final," 6 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reign

Statistics for reign

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reign

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!