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 As early as the 2nd century, they were promoted to kings, probably because frankincense is associated with royalty in one of the Psalms. Time, "Here's What History Can Tell Us About the Magi," 29 Dec. 2020 Owners of the 2021 Bronco Sport report being treated like Hollywood royalty. Star Tribune, "No one knew secret behind Ford's Mustang Mach-E, Bronco Sport — until now," 29 Dec. 2020 This isn’t the first time that Spotify has inked a deal with royalty. Essence, "Spotify Announces Multi-Year Podcast Partnership Deal With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry," 15 Dec. 2020 The Georgian-style mansion feels fit for royalty, spanning 17,000 square feet on a private peninsula overlooking Lake Bessie between the seventh and eighth holes of the famous Isleworth golf course. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Tottenham Hotspur owner Joe Lewis aims for $14.95 million outside Orlando," 15 Dec. 2020 The collection, as Adeola points out, was all handmade and hand-embroidered, giving the clothes and the women who wear them onscreen an air of royalty. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Flo Milli and Paloma Ford Star in Designer Tia Adeola’s Marie Antoinette–Inspired Collection Video," 15 Dec. 2020 But McLellan’s laboratory at the University of Texas is proud to have licensed an even more potent version of their spike protein, royalty-free, to be incorporated into a vaccine for low and middle income countries. Carolyn Y. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, "A gamble pays off in ‘spectacular success’: How the leading coronavirus vaccines made it to the finish line," 6 Dec. 2020 Cooled, heated, ventilated, and adjustable in nearly as many ways as the human body, the rear seats are sculpted for royalty and covered in leather from cows who may have volunteered for the honor of sacrificing their hides. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 Goes Shiny and Chrome," 2 Dec. 2020 The future of all things streaming appears to be the up-and-coming AV1 format, a mostly-open, theoretically royalty-free codec supported by such giants as Amazon, Apple, Arm, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Nvidia, and Samsung. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Tested: AV1 performance in 11th-gen Tiger Lake vs. 10th-gen Ice Lake and Comet Lake, Ryzen 4000," 2 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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Royalty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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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