Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[soo-zuh-rin, -reyn] /ˈsu zə rɪn, -ˌreɪn/
a sovereign or a state exercising political control over a dependent state.
History/Historical. a feudal overlord.
characteristic of or being a suzerain.
Origin of suzerain
1800-10; < French, equivalent to sus above (< Latin sūsum, variant of sursum, contraction of subversum, neuter of subversus upturned; see sub-, verse) + (souv)erain sovereign Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for suzerain
Historical Examples
  • The sons of vassals were sent to the castle of the suzerain to be brought up with his sons.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • And the suzerain revenues shall all be yours; for by the bones of Othman!

  • Natives were, no doubt, expected to know by intuition what suzerain rights are.

    The Last Boer War H. Rider Haggard
  • He feared for his life, he said, and would not trust himself in his suzerain's hands.

    A History of England

    Charles Oman
  • Finally, if a truce is made the suzerain is bound to punish the violators.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony William Stearns Davis
  • He fought off his suzerain and enlisted allies from Burgundy.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony William Stearns Davis
  • Otherwise, the bestowal of her hand belongs to her suzerain.

    Life on a Mediaeval Barony William Stearns Davis
  • In support of his suzerain the Viscount Hugues had been devastating the diocese.

    The Story of Chartres Cecil Headlam
  • John's uneasiness was not mitigated by the action of his suzerain.

    Sir William Wallace A. F. Murison
  • Then the Headman said something to his suzerain who made a sign that the audience was over.

    Long Odds

    Harold Bindloss
British Dictionary definitions for suzerain


  1. a state or sovereign exercising some degree of dominion over a dependent state, usually controlling its foreign affairs
  2. (as modifier): a suzerain power
  1. a feudal overlord
  2. (as modifier): suzerain lord
Word Origin
C19: from French, from sus above (from Latin sursum turned upwards, from sub- up + vertere to turn) + -erain, as in souverainsovereign
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for suzerain

"sovereign, ruler," late 15c. (implied in suzerainty), from Old French sus "up, above" (from Vulgar Latin susum, from Latin sursum "upward, above," contraction of subversum, from sub "up from below") + vertere "a turning" (see versus). With ending from sovereign.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for suzerain

Word Value for suzerain

Scrabble Words With Friends