roy·​al | \ ˈrȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce royal (audio) \

Definition of royal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of kingly ancestry the royal family
b : of, relating to, or subject to the crown the royal estates
c : being in the crown's service Royal Air Force
2a : suitable for royalty : magnificent
b : requiring no exertion : easy there is no royal road to logic— Justus Buchler
3a : of superior size, magnitude, or quality a patronage of royal dimensions— J. H. Plumb often used as an intensive a royal pain
b : established or chartered by the crown
4 : of, relating to, or being a part (such as a mast, sail, or yard) next above the topgallant



Definition of royal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person of royal blood
2 : a small sail on the royal mast immediately above the topgallant sail
3 : a stag of 8 years or more having antlers with at least 12 points

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Synonyms for royal

Synonyms: Adjective

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Examples of royal in a Sentence

Adjective They received a royal welcome as they stepped off the plane. the school superintendent received a royal welcome Noun magazine stories about the private lives of royals
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The two countries’ leaders claim legitimacy from rival branches of Islam — the Saudi royal family from the Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam, and Iran’s mullahs from Shiite Islam., "Fierce Foes, Iran and Saudi Arabia secretly explore defusing tensions," 1 May 2021 The two countries’ leaders claim legitimacy from rival branches of Islam — the Saudi royal family from the Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam, and Iran’s mullahs from Shiite Islam. New York Times, "Fierce Foes, Iran and Saudi Arabia Secretly Explore Defusing Tensions," 1 May 2021 Not only that, a Maktoum royal family member has won every other classic race in England, France and Ireland. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Dubai ruling family desperately wants Kentucky Derby win, and may get it Saturday," 29 Apr. 2021 There was no official announcement, but the royal family's website quietly updated their list of patronages. Stephanie Petit,, "Prince Charles Takes Over Another Royal Patronage from Brother Prince Andrew After Epstein Scandal," 28 Apr. 2021 As the Telegraph reports, the royal family's official two week period of mourning for Prince Philip ended last Friday, April 23, enabling the royals to return to full time work. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "The Queen Carried Out Her First Royal Engagements Since Prince Philip's Funeral," 27 Apr. 2021 This included many members of the Al Thani family, the ruling family of Qatar; daughters of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and members of the real Al-Saud family, the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia that Gignac claimed to be a part of. Perla Lichi,, "Behind the scenes of a ‘royal’ con | Opinion," 22 Apr. 2021 Both because of the royal family's two week period of mourning and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queen's birthday looks different this year. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Is "Deeply Touched" by Prince Philip Tributes," 21 Apr. 2021 The Daily Mail’s concerns stem in part from its assessment that its coverage of the U.K.’s royal family in 2021 has been played down in Google’s search results, a spokesman for the publisher said. Patience Haggin, WSJ, "Daily Mail Owner Files Antitrust Suit Against Google, Citing Royals Coverage," 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That's because the 99-year-old royal, who reportedly didn't want a fuss made over his funeral, requested his casket be carried in a vehicle more personal to him: a Land Rover modified to his liking. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Why did Prince Philip's Land Rover carry his casket? The story behind the strange hearse," 17 Apr. 2021 On Tuesday, the U.K.-based outlet reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex during her time as a working royal at Kensington Palace. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Prince William ‘was very unhappy’ Meghan Markle, Prince Harry 'used Princess Diana's imagery,' source alleges," 6 Mar. 2021 In a ridiculously charming new interview with television host James Corden, the former royal and new Los Angeles resident talks life and love while exploring the city for the first time. Ineye Komonibo,, "Prince Harry Is More Comfortable With The Crown Than Royal Family Gossip," 26 Feb. 2021 The former senior royal will be the keynote speaker at the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit, which will be held virtually from July 13 to July 15. Bianca Rodriguez, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Will Be the Keynote Speaker for a Women's Leadership Summit," 8 July 2020 Harry stepped back from life as a senior royal in 2020 and is currently living in California with his wife Meghan, who is pregnant, and their son Archie. Washington Post, "Who are the 30 people attending Prince Philip’s funeral?," 16 Apr. 2021 The decision was reportedly taken to prevent Prince Harry being the only senior male royal not wearing military dress, despite his extensive military service which included two tours in Afghanistan. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "The Royal Family Will Not Wear Military Uniform at Prince Philip's Funeral," 15 Apr. 2021 Of course, Queen Elizabeth II isn’t the only royal with ties to this historic garden. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, "This New Book Explores the History of the Garden at Buckingham Palace," 13 Apr. 2021 The visit, Harry’s first since stepping down as a senior royal last year, will force a meeting with his brother, Prince William, and father, Prince Charles, who Harry said in an explosive interview last month were trapped in an unhappy palace life. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, "Harry Will Attend Philip’s Funeral, Raising Hope Royal Rift Will Heal," 10 Apr. 2021

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


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for royal


Middle English roial, from Anglo-French real, roial, from Latin regalis, from reg-, rex king; akin to Old Irish (genitive rīg) king, Sanskrit rājan, Latin regere to rule — more at right

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Time Traveler for royal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for royal

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Royal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for royal



English Language Learners Definition of royal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to a king or queen
used in names of organizations that are supported by or that serve a king or queen
: suitable for a king or queen : elaborate or impressive



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

informal : a member of a royal family


roy·​al | \ ˈrȯi-əl How to pronounce royal (audio) \

Kids Definition of royal

1 : of or relating to a king or queen : regal a royal wedding
2 : fit for a king or queen We gave the team a royal welcome.

Other Words from royal

royally adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on royal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for royal

Nglish: Translation of royal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of royal for Arabic Speakers

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