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

Make time to get a figurative taste of royalty at Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ former summer residence, and get an actual taste of Sacher torte, a chocolate cake that's a local treat, at Hotel Sacher Vienna's Cafe Sacher. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 History of royalty Kaanapali is steeped in history. The Seattle Times, "Winter getaway: Stay and play in Kaanapali, Maui," 15 Aug. 2018 Anheuser-Busch first revealed to The Takeout last week that both of its new collections — hosted on Pexels and Unsplash — would be available royalty-free for designers, marketing firms, business owners and journalists. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "Anheuser-Busch releases royalty-free beer photos to make up for lack of 'diversity and inclusion' in stock pics," 30 July 2018 But vandals wasted no time in making the latest member of LA royalty feel unwelcome. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "Welcome to Los Angeles? Mural celebrating LeBron James joining the Lakers vandalized," 9 July 2018 Afternoon tea The Drake Chicago, 140 E. Walton Place Follow in the footsteps of royalty with a visit to The Drake for afternoon tea, an oh-so-civilized tradition at the iconic hotel for nearly a century. Lori Rackl,, "Bicentennial bucket list: 20 essential Illinois drinks," 29 June 2018 In 2017, Walker spurned a parade of college basketball royalty — schools like Kentucky, Villanova, Arizona and Syracuse — to sign with Miami. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs’ new draft pick not just all talk," 23 June 2018 Novelist Max Brooks, the son of Hollywood royalty Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, and active-duty U.S. Army strategist Maj. Chad Jones,, "‘Star Wars’ essays a new hope for teaching soldiers in ‘Strategy Strikes Back’," 21 June 2018 Apparently, there have been drunken brawls at the Goodwood and Ascot in May, so officials are trying to make sure people behave in front of royalty. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Is the Royal Ascot? Inside the Horse Race That’s a British High-Society Must," 19 June 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

1 Dec 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

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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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