do·​min·​ion | \ də-ˈmi-nyən How to pronounce dominion (audio) \

Essential Meaning of dominion

1 : the power to rule : control of a country, region, etc. The U.S. has/holds dominion over the island. The countries fought for dominion of the territory.
2 : the land that a ruler or government controls The whole island is the king's dominion. [=domain] the dominions of the empire
3 : a country that was part of the British Empire but had its own government

Full Definition of dominion

1 : domain
2 law : supreme authority : sovereignty having dominion over the natural world
3 dominions plural, Christianity : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
4 often capitalized, government : a self-governing nation of the Commonwealth of Nations other than the United Kingdom that acknowledges the British monarch as chief of state
5 law : absolute ownership

Choose the Right Synonym for dominion

power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence. the power to mold public opinion authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits. granted the authority to manage her estate jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits. the bureau having jurisdiction over parks control stresses the power to direct and restrain. you are responsible for the students under your control command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience. the army officer in command sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence. the empire extended its sway over the region dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority. given dominion over all the animals

Did you know?

The ruler of a region has dominion over it, and the area itself may be called the ruler's dominion. In the days of the British Empire, Great Britain had dominion over many countries throughout the world. Though Canada has been quite independent of Great Britain since the 19th century, its formal title remains Dominion of Canada. The word has an old-fashioned sound today, and probably shows up in history books, historical novels, and fantasy video games more often than in discussions of modern nations.

Examples of dominion in a Sentence

The U.S. has dominion over the island. The countries fought for dominion of the territory. the dominions of the empire
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Recent Examples on the Web Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was born in 1982, during the last years of Soviet dominion. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 6 Dec. 2021 Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes by British frigates — a tragedy which led Spain to declare war on Britain, precipitating Trafalgar and the Spanish empire’s definitive loss of dominion at sea. John Hopewell, Variety, 7 Oct. 2021 Near the turn of the century, the messianic Ghost Dance spread rapidly among the tribes of the West, prophesying the return of the dead and the end of settler dominion. New York Times, 15 Sep. 2021 The bloody siege culminating in its surrender launched three centuries of Spanish dominion in Mexico. Los Angeles Times, 14 Aug. 2021 And agreeing to discuss Russia’s version of post–Cold War history or its demands for a sphere of influence that would consign countries to Russian dominion is not the same as accepting them. Kori Schake, The Atlantic, 29 Dec. 2021 Barring a major shift in tax policy, the number of self-perpetuating Mars, Scripps or Mellon-style dynasties will likely multiply and gain dominion over ever more areas of American life. Patricia Callahan, ProPublica, 15 Dec. 2021 It has been driven by the frontier maxim that prosperity comes when nature succumbs to human dominion. Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2021 That alone is cause for concern but taking a win over the Golden Eagles after two years of resentment is paramount for a UAB program looking to claim dominion over what could be a dying conference. Evan Dudley, al, 12 Oct. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dominion

Middle English dominioun, from Middle French dominion, modification of Latin dominium, from dominus — see dominical

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Time Traveler for dominion

Time Traveler

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

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Dominion Day

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Last Updated

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dominion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for dominion


do·​min·​ion | \ də-ˈmin-yən How to pronounce dominion (audio) \

Kids Definition of dominion

1 : ruling or controlling power : sovereignty … the whole country was my own property, so that I had an undoubted right of dominion.— Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
2 : a territory under the control of a ruler : domain


do·​min·​ion | \ də-ˈmin-yən How to pronounce dominion (audio) \

Legal Definition of dominion

1a : supreme authority : sovereignty
b : a territory over which such authority is exercised
c often capitalized : a self-governing nation (as Canada) of the British Commonwealth other than the United Kingdom that acknowledges the British monarch as the head of state
2 : the power (as authority) or right (as ownership) to use or dispose of property specifically : absolute or exclusive use, control, ownership, or possession of property the transferred property is placed beyond the donor's dominion and control — W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al. the bailee exercised dominion over the vehicle

More from Merriam-Webster on dominion

Nglish: Translation of dominion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dominion for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about dominion


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