noun, plural prin·ci·pal·i·ties.
  1. a state ruled by a prince, usually a relatively small state or a state that falls within a larger state such as an empire.
  2. the position or authority of a prince or chief ruler; sovereignty; supreme power.
  3. the rule of a prince of a small or subordinate state.
  4. the Principality, British. Wales.
  5. principalities, Theology.
    1. an order of angels.Compare angel(def 1).
    2. supramundane powers often in conflict with God. Ephes. 6:12.
  6. Obsolete. preeminence.

Origin of principality

1300–50; Middle English principalite < Old French < Late Latin prīncipālitās first place, superiority (Medieval Latin: authority or territory of a prince). See principal, -ity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for principalities


pl n
  1. (often capital) the seventh of the nine orders into which the angels are divided in medieval angelologyAlso called: princedoms


noun plural -ties
    1. a territory ruled by a prince
    2. a territory from which a prince draws his title
  1. the dignity or authority of a prince

Word Origin for principality

C14 (in the sense: pre-eminence): via Old French from Latin principālis principal
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 principalities



c.1300, "position of a prince," from Old French principalite "principal matter; power, sovereignty" (12c., Modern French principauté), from Late Latin principalitatem (nominative principalitas), from principalis (see principal (adj.)). Meaning "region or state ruled by a prince" is attested from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper