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British Empire

a former collective term for the territories under the leadership or control of the British crown, including those in the Commonwealth of Nations and their colonies, protectorates, dependencies, and trusteeships.
Origin of British Empire
First recorded in 1595-1605 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for British Empire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Their wives wished that too, or perhaps it was the British Empire.

    Monday or Tuesday Virginia Woolf
  • In a most dramatic manner she denounced the course of the British Empire.

  • The people are now part of the British Empire, subjects of the Queen.

    The Soul of a People H. Fielding
  • The Camden professes, as we have seen, to be general to the British Empire.

    The Book-Hunter

    John Hill Burton
  • For let any Unionist glance round the world outside the British Empire.

    Home Rule Harold Spender
British Dictionary definitions for British Empire

British Empire

(formerly) the United Kingdom and the territories under its control, which reached its greatest extent at the end of World War I when it embraced over a quarter of the world's population and more than a quarter of the world's land surface
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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British Empire in Culture

British Empire definition

The empire of Britain, which began in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with the establishment of colonies in North America and ended in the twentieth century as dozens of nations, formerly British possessions, became independent. At the empire's greatest extent, around 1900, it included Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, vast portions of Africa, and many smaller territories throughout the world. The empire ceased to have an “emperor” in the late 1940s, when the British king renounced the title of emperor of India. The empire has been succeeded by the British Commonwealth, which was formed in 1931.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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