sovereignty

noun
sov·​er·​eign·​ty | \ ˈsä-v(ə-)rən-tē How to pronounce sovereignty (audio) , -vərn-tē also ˈsə- \
variants: or less commonly sovranty
plural sovereignties also sovranties

Definition of sovereignty

1a : supreme power especially over a body politic
b : freedom from external control : autonomy
c : controlling influence
2 : one that is sovereign especially : an autonomous state
3 obsolete : supreme excellence or an example of it

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Examples of sovereignty in a Sentence

Nor was the sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian race recognized at the time Hawaii became a state. — Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 18 July 2005 Cesaire's wrenching chant of self-affirmation announced a new era of intellectual and cultural sovereignty for black writers in French. — Lila Azam Zanganeh, New York Times Book Review, 12 June 2005 The position plunged him into a supremely complicated religious and political game. Throughout Europe the old order of divinely sanctioned kingdoms was battling models of popular sovereignty and citizenship inspired by the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the adolescent U.S. — David Van Biema, Time, 4 Sept. 2000 upon leaving home she felt that she had achieved sovereignty for the first time in her life as parts of the same sovereignty, the states should not enact laws intended to harm one another economically
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Recent Examples on the Web It’s a tribal nation fighting and winning not only the financial ability to protect its people, but another acknowledgement by the Supreme Court that tribal sovereignty can no longer be casually ignored. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Indian Country Refuses to Be Corporate America’s Dumping Ground," 12 Jan. 2021 Many reservation casinos, citing tribal sovereignty, have reopened throughout California with a variety of pandemic health measures in place. Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, "What’s open and closed in SoCal with state poised to renew stay-home rules," 28 Dec. 2020 Some experts say talking about sovereignty in the context of trade deals misses the point. Stephen Fidler, WSJ, "With Brexit, the U.K. Finds Sovereignty Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Getting Its Way," 25 Dec. 2020 The answer to those questions is: symbolic sovereignty. Matt Seaton, The New York Review of Books, "What’s Brexit to Do with the Price of Fish?," 24 Dec. 2020 In a show of support for Israel’s sovereignty, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday visited Mount Bental in the Golan Heights, the territory that Israel has controlled since seizing it from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967. Jimmy Quinn, National Review, "Pompeo Declares Golan Heights ‘Part of Israel,’ in First Visit by U.S. Secretary of State," 19 Nov. 2020 Queen Juliana of the Netherlands signs an act recognizing Indonesia’s sovereignty after more than three centuries of Dutch rule. Bryan Robinson, Fox News, "This Day in History: Dec. 27," 28 Dec. 2020 Both hinge on a notion of sovereignty that might seem at odds with a world in which economic interdependency and disease have leapfrogged national frontiers with equal and comparable ease. New York Times, "The Brexit Fight, Through a Reporter’s Prism of a Changed Continent," 26 Dec. 2020 The lead up to the vote itself had played out with a heavy emphasis on themes of Britishness, immigration, sovereignty and identity, that stands in deep contrast to the technocratic wrangling that would follow in the years afterwards. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "The U.K. has finally reached a Christmas Eve trade deal with the EU," 24 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sovereignty.' 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 sovereignty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for sovereignty

Middle English soverainte, from Anglo-French sovereinté, from soverein — see sovereign entry 2

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Time Traveler for sovereignty

Time Traveler

The first known use of sovereignty was in the 14th century

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Statistics for sovereignty

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sovereignty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sovereignty. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sovereignty

sovereignty

noun
How to pronounce sovereignty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sovereignty

: unlimited power over a country
: a country's independent authority and the right to govern itself

sovereignty

noun
sov·​er·​eign·​ty | \ ˈsä-və-rən-tē How to pronounce sovereignty (audio) , ˈsä-vrən- \
plural sovereignties

Kids Definition of sovereignty

1 : supreme power especially over a political unit (as a country)
2 : a country's independent authority and right of self-control

sovereignty

noun
sov·​er·​eign·​ty | \ ˈsä-vrən-tē, ˈsə-, -və-rən- \
plural sovereignties

Legal Definition of sovereignty

1a : supreme power especially over a body politic
b : freedom from external control : autonomy
2 : one that is sovereign especially : an autonomous state

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Comments on sovereignty

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