roy·al·ty | \ˈrȯi(-ə)l-tē \
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 royalties are derived from digital radio services like Pandora, SiriusXM and the non-interactive radio functions of Spotify, among others, which were paid to SoundExchange when his songs were streamed by those services. Dan Rys, Billboard, "Glassnote Files Complaint to Resolve Contract Dispute With Donald Glover Over $700K in Royalties," 10 July 2018 The royalties came from a series of more than 180 posed photographs, which were shot by Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux between 2010 and 2016. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Melania Trump made six figures from news organizations using her picture," 2 July 2018 Not everyone was as desperately poor, but even the most affluent royalty faced high childhood mortality rates and paltry medical care. Michael Hicks, Indianapolis Star, "Hicks: We've got it good, and we don't even know it," 24 June 2018 Her example, the Afghan royalty hoped, would influence other Afghan women. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "Driving Toward Change," 23 June 2018 Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett — a vocal fan of limburger — is the official Cheese Days Limburger Queen, joining other members of the Cheese Days royalty. Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "6 food festivals that offer a glimpse of Wisconsin specialties and local culture," 6 June 2018 The five-year-old oil and gas royalties company in Houston is supported by major equity firms Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, known as KKR, which will acquire ownership stakes in Kimbell through the deal. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Houston minerals royalty firm Haymaker sold to Texas rival," 29 May 2018 Appearing to channel the English royalty's penchant for pastels (who owns a powdery pale suit, after all, better than the Queen?), the Quantico actress put an entirely new spin on a classic. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How Priyanka Chopra Turned Royal Wedding Day Makeup on Its Head," 19 May 2018 After taking the royalty-like walk to the training table area, a sea of media awaited along with his teammates. David Humphrey, star-telegram, "Royalty-caliber retirement scene for Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 3 May 2018

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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Statistics for royalty

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for royalty

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

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More Definitions for royalty



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 \
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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