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

Glencore stopped paying royalties to Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler in December after sanctions were imposed for alleged corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Scott Patterson, WSJ, "Glencore to Resume Payments to Sanctioned Billionaire Gertler," 15 June 2018 This is akin to what the government did in 1956: A consent decree required AT&T to license all its 7,800 patents royalty-free in exchange for allowing the company to continue to maintain its telephone monopoly., "By The Editorial Board," 14 June 2018 Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry broke royal protocol countless times on their wedding day–while still managing to host an event fit for royalty. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Meghan Markle's Emotional Reception Speech," 21 May 2018 Not The Choir's First Royal Family Performance According to ABC News, the Kingdom Choir has performed for British royalty before. Paula Rogo,, "Meet The Kingdom Choir, The British Gospel Choir That Snatched Our Wigs At The Royal Wedding," 19 May 2018 Sales will be booked by Nestle, which will pay royalties to Starbucks., "Nestle pays $7.2 billion to sell coffee with Starbucks brand," 7 May 2018 Meghan Markle is leaving behind her Suits days for royalty, and the preview for her final episodes of the legal drama has arrived. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Patrick J. Adams Get Steamy in the Final Episodes of 'Suits'," 5 Mar. 2018 Well, if a Spotify computer can pump out hit songs by virtual artists to play on Spotify, the company can make a ton of money without paying royalties to human artists. Kevin Maney, Newsweek, "Spotify, IBM and Google Using AI to Make Human Musicians Extinct?," 6 Feb. 2018 However, the lawsuit claims the singer only paid Roberts for the initial licensing agreement and has failed to pay her for royalties. Marie Simoneaux,, "As Messy Mya lawsuit settles, another New Orleans artist sues Beyonce," 6 Feb. 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

20 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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Comments on royalty

What made you want to look up royalty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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