[ hep-tahr-kee ]

noun,plural hep·tar·chies.
  1. (often initial capital letter) the seven principal concurrent Anglo-Saxon kingdoms supposed to have existed in the 7th and 8th centuries.

  2. government by seven persons.

  1. an allied group of seven states or kingdoms, each under its own ruler.

Origin of heptarchy

First recorded in 1570–80; hept- + -archy

Other words from heptarchy

  • heptarch, hep·tar·chist, noun
  • hep·tar·chic, hep·tar·chi·cal, hep·tar·chal, adjective

Words Nearby heptarchy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use heptarchy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for heptarchy


/ (ˈhɛptɑːkɪ) /

nounplural -chies
  1. government by seven rulers

  2. a state divided into seven regions each under its own ruler

    • the seven kingdoms into which Anglo-Saxon England is thought to have been divided from about the 7th to the 9th centuries ad : Kent, East Anglia, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, Mercia, and Northumbria

    • the period when this grouping existed

Derived forms of heptarchy

  • heptarch, noun
  • heptarchic or heptarchal, adjective

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