• synonyms


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.
  3. an allied group of seven states or kingdoms, each under its own ruler.
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Origin of heptarchy

First recorded in 1570–80; hept- + -archy
Related formshep·tarch, hep·tar·chist, nounhep·tar·chic, hep·tar·chi·cal, hep·tar·chal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for heptarchy

Historical Examples of heptarchy

  • No English gentleman has spit upon the floor since the Heptarchy.

    The Jest Book

    Mark Lemon

  • The men of the Heptarchy were in the main bred upon English soil.

    The Quest for a Lost Race

    Thomas E. Pickett

  • In the time of the Heptarchy, it was an important stronghold.

  • It was never reckoned as a separate member of the heptarchy.

    The Story of London

    Henry B. Wheatley

  • Bede was a Northumbrian priest in the time of the Heptarchy.

    King Arthur in Cornwall

    W. Howship (William Howship) Dickinson

British Dictionary definitions for heptarchy


noun plural -chies
  1. government by seven rulers
  2. a state divided into seven regions each under its own ruler
    1. 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
    2. the period when this grouping existed
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Derived Formsheptarch, nounheptarchic or heptarchal, adjective
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