sovereign

noun
sov·​er·​eign | \ ˈsä-v(ə-)rən How to pronounce sovereign (audio) , -vərn also ˈsə- \
variants: or less commonly sovran

Definition of sovereign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one possessing or held to possess supreme political power or sovereignty
b : one that exercises supreme authority within a limited sphere
c : an acknowledged leader : arbiter
2 : any of various gold coins of the United Kingdom

sovereign

adjective
sov·​er·​eign | \ ˈsä-v(ə-)rən How to pronounce sovereign (audio) , -vərn also ˈsə- \
variants: or less commonly sovran

Definition of sovereign (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : superlative in quality
b : of the most exalted kind : supreme sovereign virtue
c : having generalized curative powers a sovereign remedy
d : of an unqualified nature : unmitigated sovereign contempt
e : having undisputed ascendancy : paramount
2a : possessed of supreme power a sovereign ruler
b : unlimited in extent : absolute
c : enjoying autonomy : independent sovereign states
3 : relating to, characteristic of, or befitting a supreme ruler : royal a sovereign right

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Other Words from sovereign

Adjective

sovereignly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for sovereign

Adjective

free, independent, sovereign, autonomous mean not subject to the rule or control of another. free stresses the complete absence of external rule and the full right to make all of one's own decisions. you're free to do as you like independent implies a standing alone; applied to a state it implies lack of connection with any other having power to interfere with its citizens, laws, or policies. the colony's struggle to become independent sovereign stresses the absence of a superior power and implies supremacy within a thing's own domain or sphere. separate and sovereign armed services autonomous stresses independence in matters pertaining to self-government. in this denomination each congregation is regarded as autonomous

Sovereign Power

Adjective

Sovereign has everything to do with power. It often describes a person who has supreme power or authority, such as a king or queen. God is described as "sovereign" in a number of Bible translations. In addition to describing ones who have power, the word sovereign also often describes power: to have sovereign power is to have absolute power—that is, power that cannot be checked by anyone or anything. Nations and states are also sometimes described as "sovereign." This means that they have power over themselves; their government is under their own control, rather than under the control of an outside authority.

Sovereign can also be a synonym of supreme as in "of the most exalted kind." In that case, the power is figurative rather than literal.

Examples of sovereign in a Sentence

Noun Ricky Martin, sovereign of Latin pop culture, is back. — Raquel Cepeda, Vibe, May 1999 During these two centuries the throne of Scotland was occupied by no more than seven sovereigns of only four different generations. — G. W. S. Barrow, The Anglo-Norman Era In Scottish History, 1980 after the current sovereign dies, the monarchy may be abolished Adjective Local officials and a huge and enthusiastic crowd greeted Napoleon at the Portoferraio harbor. The Allies had granted him the title of Emperor of Elba, which was to be a sovereign state under his jurisdiction. — David Pryce-Jones, National Review, 4 July 2005 If Cleopatra VII used her own personality more like Elizabeth I than Elizabeth II, she seems to have had the latter Elizabeth's sovereign sense of duty—as well as her fertility: With a dispatch usually associated with the gods, Cleopatra bore Caesar a son called Caesarion—"little Caesar"—in 47 B.C.E., the year after they met (she was twenty-one, he fifty-two). — Ingrid D. Rowland, New Republic, 1 & 8 April 2002 the sovereign power of a king The government's sovereign duty is to protect the rights of its citizens.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, the right to act as a sovereign is accompanied by the implicit right to be criticized for actions carried out in the name of said sovereignty. Nick Martin, The New Republic, 18 May 2021 Turkey’s sovereign-wealth fund invested $5.8 billion in 2020, mainly in local banks and insurers and in mobile-phone operator Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. , according to the IFSWF. Simon Clark, WSJ, 16 July 2021 The 95-year-old sovereign traditionally assumes a week of engagements in the country towards the end of June or early July each year to celebrate Scottish community, innovation and history. Max Foster, CNN, 1 July 2021 This explains why the Sussex kids don't have titles now, but were expected to in the future—they're currently the great-grandchildren of the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. Marie Claire, 20 June 2021 The longtime royal consort is survived by the sovereign, 94, four children including Prince Charles, eight grandchildren including Princes William and Harry, and 10 great-grandchildren. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 Apr. 2021 After working for an arm of Qatar’s sovereign-wealth fund, Tuchel now had the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich as his boss. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 29 May 2021 So far, the currency’s true believers are exhibiting impressive levels of coping, trying to rationalize their sovereign’s confusion. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 13 May 2021 Luminus, which invests on behalf of institutions including sovereign-wealth and pension funds, is shrinking rather than shutting down. Joe Wallace, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Some of the honorees in this year’s Women to Watch list have careers that span a range of roles and investor types, including global fundraising teams at private-equity firms, consulting firms, asset managers and even sovereign-wealth funds. Laura Kreutzer, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021 Abu Dhabi is home to the International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters, and the city’s $240 billion sovereign wealth fund Mubadala has invested heavily in its renewable-energy arm Masdar. Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg.com, 7 Oct. 2021 With the backing of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund behind them, Newcastle United will surely have lofty ambitions. Graham Ruthven, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 Those investors include Virgin Group, which is essentially Branson's personal investment firm, Mubadala Investment Company, the Emirati sovereign wealth fund, as well as management and employees. Jackie Wattles, CNN, 23 Aug. 2021 Funded for a decade by Qatari sovereign wealth, PSG is one of the few clubs in the world that can afford the 34-year-old Messi's salary. Rob Harris, ajc, 6 Aug. 2021 The king, meanwhile, is the sole trustee of an untaxed sovereign wealth fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars, which grew out of savings pooled by Swazis in the 1960s to buy back their land from British colonizers. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 July 2021 Meanwhile Thursday, sovereign wealth funds in Russia and Bahrain announced the island kingdom would begin producing the Sputnik V vaccine to supply demand across the Middle East and North Africa. Jon Gambrell, Star Tribune, 3 June 2021 Angela Rodell, director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., said that agency will begin preparing to shut down and leave Alaska’s $78.6 billion sovereign wealth fund under passive management. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, 21 May 2021

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

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sovereign

Noun

Middle English soverain, from Anglo-French soverein, from soverein, adjective — see sovereign entry 2

Adjective

Middle English soverain, from Anglo-French soverein, from Vulgar Latin *superanus, from Latin super over, above — more at over

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Time Traveler for sovereign

Time Traveler

The first known use of sovereign was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near sovereign

sovenance

sovereign

sovereignty

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Statistics for sovereign

Cite this Entry

“Sovereign.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sovereign. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for sovereign

sovereign

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sovereign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a king or queen
: a British gold coin that was used in the past

sovereign

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sovereign (Entry 2 of 2)

: having unlimited power or authority
: not limited
: having independent authority and the right to govern itself

sovereign

noun
sov·​er·​eign | \ ˈsä-və-rən How to pronounce sovereign (audio) , ˈsä-vrən \

Kids Definition of sovereign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person (as a king or queen) having the highest power and authority
2 : an old British gold coin

sovereign

adjective

Kids Definition of sovereign (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : highest in power or authority a sovereign ruler
2 : having independent authority a sovereign state
3 : of the most important kind a sovereign duty

sovereign

adjective
sov·​er·​eign | \ ˈsäv-(ə-)rən How to pronounce sovereign (audio) \

Medical Definition of sovereign

: having generalized curative powers a sovereign remedy

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sovereign

noun
sov·​er·​eign | \ ˈsä-vrən, ˈsə-, -və-rən \

Legal Definition of sovereign

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or political entity (as a nation or state) possessing or held to possess sovereignty the doctrine that a sovereign could not be sued without its consent was universal in the States when the Constitution was draftedAlden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999) — see also sovereign immunity at immunity

sovereign

adjective

Legal Definition of sovereign (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having supreme power a sovereign ruler
2 : enjoying autonomy sovereign states
3 : relating to, characteristic of, or befitting a sovereign

More from Merriam-Webster on sovereign

Nglish: Translation of sovereign for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sovereign for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sovereign

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