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 The Kardashian clan celebrated Christmas this year in grandiose fashion, from over-the-top gifts and glittering parties to sweet moments with the next generation of reality TV royalty. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, "A Kardashian Family Khristmas: Kimye Give North $65,000 Present, Sia Performs at Their Party & More," 26 Dec. 2019 This massive lineup of vinyl pants royalty will be a chance for members of Gen-X to relive their youth gone wild (Skid Row reference, sadly absent). Trevor Fraser,, "Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe and more team up for visit to Camping World Stadium," 4 Dec. 2019 That moment, Kojève argued, marked the permanent triumph of the principles of the French Revolution over the reactionary forces of European royalty. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "Fukuyama’s Inner Civic Republicanism (Part 2)," 21 Nov. 2019 Olivia Colman, who will soon portray the queen in The Crown Season 3, got a dose of real-life royalty while being honored an investiture service at Buckingham Palace today. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Olivia Colman, Star of The Crown, Receives an Honor from the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace," 31 Oct. 2019 Her limbs were loaded down with jewellery and arrangements of elephant hair, a symbol of royalty. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Njinga," 4 Oct. 2019 The oil and gas development in the region is responsible for hundreds of jobs and as much as $90 million of state royalties annually, according to BLM Central California District spokeswoman Serena Baker. Kurtis Alexander,, "Trump administration opens California to new oil drilling, possibly Bay Area, too," 4 Oct. 2019 The most obvious is that the lack of royalties means using RISC-V is less costly than employing a commercial ISA. The Economist, "A new blueprint for microprocessors challenges the industry’s giants," 3 Oct. 2019 The Leopard wears a Victorian-era dress reminiscent of royalty. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Who Is the Leopard on 'The Masked Singer'? We're 99.9% Positive This Theory Is Correct," 2 Oct. 2019

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

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Royalty.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 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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Comments on royalty

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not to be intimidated or subdued

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