[ em-pahyuhr; for 8–10 also om-peer ]
/ ˈɛm paɪər; for 8–10 also ɒmˈpɪər /



Nearby words

  1. emphasise,
  2. emphasize,
  3. emphatic,
  4. emphatically,
  5. emphysema,
  6. empire builder,
  7. empire building,
  8. empire day,
  9. empire state,
  10. empire state building

Origin of empire

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin imperium; see empery

Related formsin·ter·em·pire, adjectivepre-Em·pire, adjectivepro·em·pire, adjective

Can be confusedempire umpire

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for empire

British Dictionary definitions for empire


/ (ˈɛmpaɪə) /


an aggregate of peoples and territories, often of great extent, under the rule of a single person, oligarchy, or sovereign state
any monarchy that for reasons of history, prestige, etc, has an emperor rather than a king as head of state
the period during which a particular empire exists
supreme power; sovereignty
a large industrial organization with many ramifications, esp a multinational corporation
Related formsRelated adjective: imperial

Word Origin for empire

C13: from Old French, from Latin imperium rule, from imperāre to command, from parāre to prepare


/ (ˈɛmpaɪə) /

noun the Empire

French history
  1. the period of imperial rule in France from 1804 to 1815 under Napoleon Bonaparte
  2. Also called: Second Empirethe period from 1852 to 1870 when Napoleon III ruled as emperor


denoting, characteristic of, or relating to the British Empire
denoting, characteristic of, or relating to either French Empire, esp the first: in particular, denoting the neoclassical style of architecture and furniture and the high-waisted style of women's dresses characteristic of the period
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

Word Origin and History for empire



early 14c., from Old French empire "rule, authority, kingdom, imperial rule," from Latin imperium "rule, command," from imperare "to command," from im- "in" (see in- (2)) + parare "to order, prepare" (see pare).

Not etymologically restricted to "territory ruled by an emperor," but used that way. The Empire, meaning "the British Empire," first recorded 1772 (it officially devolved into "The Commonwealth" in 1931); before that it meant the Holy Roman Empire (1670s). Empire style (especially in reference to a style of dresses with high waistlines) is 1869, from the Second Empire "rule of Napoleon III of France" (1852-70). New York has been called the Empire State since 1834.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper