sul·​tan | \ ˈsəl-tᵊn How to pronounce sultan (audio) \

Definition of sultan

: a king or sovereign especially of a Muslim state

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sultan

sultanic \ ˌsəl-​ˈta-​nik How to pronounce sultanic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of sultan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Also invited home was Jamshid bin Abdullah al-Said, the last sultan of Zanzibar, the Tanzanian island once part of Oman. Jon Gambrell, The Christian Science Monitor, "Oman's new sultan quietly carves Gulf nation's way forward," 2 Oct. 2020 But Sultan Haitham remains the paramount ruler of a country where criticism of the sultan remains a criminal offense punishable by as much as seven years in prison. Jon Gambrell, The Christian Science Monitor, "Oman's new sultan quietly carves Gulf nation's way forward," 2 Oct. 2020 In the deep, resounding voice of a TV announcer, Wong announced the guest as the sultan of smooth, the Sammy Sosa of syncopation and other endearing appellations. Jon Bream, Star Tribune, "Cory Wong, Dave Koz mix funk and smooth-jazz with fun and flair at Crooners," 7 Sep. 2020 European powers were flexing their muscles in Morocco, not just toward the sultan but toward their imperial rivals as well. Graham Cornwell, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Diplomatic Intrigue That Gave Morocco a Cameo Appearance in the U.S. Civil War," 21 Jan. 2020 So did the sultan of Zanzibar, whose House of Wonders has European characteristics, along with a front entrance large enough to ride his elephant through. Darran Anderson, The Atlantic, "Why Every City Feels the Same Now," 24 Aug. 2020 It’s an ersatz Medici palazzo with ceiling frescoes, silk damask wall coverings, walnut carvings edged in gilt, and pissing putti—a habitat more suited to the sultan of Brunei than to Ward Cleaver. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, "Trump’s Incredible Ignorance of Suburbia," 24 Aug. 2020 But in January a new sultan, Haitham bin Tariq, took over. The Economist, "Who’s next? The Arab countries most likely to recognise Israel," 22 Aug. 2020 This decision may have saved the sultan’s forces from facing total annihilation. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Study Identifies Site Where Crusader King Richard the Lionheart Defeated Saladin," 10 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sultan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sultan

1555, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sultan

Middle French, from Arabic sulṭān

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sultan

Time Traveler for sultan

Time Traveler

The first known use of sultan was in 1555

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sultan

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sultan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sultan


How to pronounce sultan (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sultan

: a king or ruler of a Muslim state or country


sul·​tan | \ ˈsəl-tᵊn How to pronounce sultan (audio) \

Kids Definition of sultan

: a ruler especially of a Muslim state

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sultan

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


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!