roy·​al·​ty | \ ˈrȯi(-ə)l-tē How to pronounce royalty (audio) \
plural royalties

Definition of royalty

1a : royal status or power : sovereignty
b : a right or perquisite of a sovereign (such as a percentage paid to the crown of gold or silver taken from mines)
2 : regal character or bearing : nobility
3a : persons of royal lineage
b : a person of royal rank how to address royalties— George Santayana
c : an elite class
4 : a right of jurisdiction granted to an individual or corporation by a sovereign
5a : a share of the product or profit reserved by the grantor especially of an oil or mining lease
b : a payment to an author or composer for each copy of a work sold or to an inventor for each item sold under a patent

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Examples of royalty in a Sentence

It was an honor and a privilege to dine with royalty. On our wedding day, we were treated like royalty.
Recent Examples on the Web Previously unreported terms hashed out in April, described by people familiar with the discussions, include a potential royalty cut of roughly 6% for Oxford. Jenny Strasburg, WSJ, "Oxford Developed Covid Vaccine, Then Scholars Clashed Over Money," 21 Oct. 2020 Amongst hip-hop royalty, the Birkin is wildly popular, and this morning Cardi B took to Instagram to share her collection. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Cardi B Has Secured the Bag," 14 Oct. 2020 That course of action will serve chiefly to lock in a broken status quo—preserving the standing of Supreme Court justices as royalty but vying to confirm left-leaning monarchs rather than right-wing ones. Ryan D. Doerfler, The New Republic, "Making the Supreme Court Safe for Democracy," 13 Oct. 2020 Jeff & Flash were radio royalty and lured some of the top names in the music industry to Cleveland, from Bruce Springsteen to the Rolling Stones. cleveland, "Cleveland radio legend Jeff Kinzbach calls it a career after epic 50-year on-air run," 6 Oct. 2020 In the late 1980s, Martin Scorsese was not yet Hollywood royalty. Washington Post, "‘Goodfellas’ turned 30 this year. ‘Made Men’ explores its lasting influence.," 24 Sep. 2020 The original movie with all of the holiday clichés — royalty, unexpected love, engagement, switched places, baking — ended with the two identical characters played by Vanessa Hudgens falling for each other's counterparts. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "'The Princess Switch' sequel and more: Cheesy Christmas movies coming to Netflix this year," 8 Oct. 2020 Mining companies provided local governments with tax payments, royalty checks and contributions to civic projects. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "There’s No Oil in Wisconsin. The Fracking Bust Hit It Anyway.," 8 Oct. 2020 Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore are often called on to treat top corporate executives, Supreme Court justices and even Arab royalty. Meredith Cohn,, "Johns Hopkins doctor on Trump’s coronavirus treatment team has plenty of experience treating contagious diseases," 7 Oct. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for royalty

Middle English roialte, from Anglo-French realté, roialté, from real

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Time Traveler for royalty

Time Traveler

The first known use of royalty was in the 15th century

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Statistics for royalty

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Royalty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for royalty


How to pronounce royalty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of royalty

: members of a royal family
: an amount of money that is paid to the original creator of a product, book, or piece of music based on how many copies have been sold
: an amount of money that is paid by a mining or oil company to the owner of the land the company is using


roy·​al·​ty | \ ˈrȯi-əl-tē How to pronounce royalty (audio) \
plural royalties

Kids Definition of royalty

1 : the status or power of a king or queen or his or her family
2 : members of the royal family of a king or queen
3 : a share of a product or profit (as of a mine) claimed by the owner for allowing another to use the property
4 : payment made to the owner of a patent or copyright for the use of it


plural royalties

Legal Definition of royalty

1 : a right delegated (as to an individual or corporation) by a sovereign
2a : a share of the profit or product reserved by the grantor especially of an oil or mineral lease — compare overriding royalty
b : a payment made to an author or composer for each copy of a work sold or to an inventor for each article sold under a patent

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