Origin of royal

1325–75; Middle English < Middle French < Latin rēgālis kingly, equivalent to rēg- (stem of rēx) king + -ālis -al1; cf. regal1
Related formsroy·al·ly, adverban·ti·roy·al, adjectivenon·roy·al, adjectivenon·roy·al·ly, adverbpre·roy·al, adjectivepre·roy·al·ly, adverbpseu·do·roy·al, adjectivepseu·do·roy·al·ly, adverbqua·si-roy·al, adjectivequa·si-roy·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedroil royal

Synonyms for royal

7. majestic. See kingly.

Antonyms for royal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for royal

Contemporary Examples of royal

Historical Examples of royal

  • That graceful maiden is too lovely for any destiny meaner than a royal marriage.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • The morning after his arrival, Artaphernes had a private audience with his royal master.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • “Not but what she would have royal example,” muttered Tibble aside.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • But the Holy Laws no longer needed the safe shelter of a royal shrine.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Three weeks later Parliament was dissolved by Royal commission.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

British Dictionary definitions for royal



of, relating to, or befitting a king, queen, or other monarch; regal
(prenominal; often capital) established, chartered by, under the patronage or in the service of royaltythe Royal Society of St George
being a member of a royal family
above the usual or normal in standing, size, quality, etc
informal unusually good or impressive; first-rate
nautical just above the topgallant (in the phrase royal mast)


(sometimes capital) informal a member of a royal family
Also called: royal stag a stag with antlers having 12 or more branches
nautical a sail set next above the topgallant, on a royal mast
a size of printing paper, 20 by 25 inches
Also called: small royal mainly British a size of writing paper, 19 by 24 inches
any of various book sizes, esp 6 1/4 by 10 inches (royal octavo), 6 3/4 by 10 1/4 inches (super royal octavo), and (chiefly Brit) 10 by 12 1/2 inches (royal quarto) and 10 1/4 by 13 1/2 inches (super royal quarto)
Derived Formsroyally, adverb

Word Origin for royal

C14: from Old French roial, from Latin rēgālis, fit for a king, from rēx king; compare regal 1
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 royal

mid-13c., "fit for a king;" late 14c., "pertaining to a king," from Old French roial "royal, regal; splendid, magnificent" (12c., Modern French royal), from Latin regalis "of a king, kingly, royal, regal," from rex (genitive regis) "king" (see rex). Meaning "thorough, total" attested from 1940s; that of "splendid, first-rate" from 1853.

Battle royal (1670s) preserves the French custom of putting the adjective after the noun (cf. attorney general); the sense of the adjective here is "on a grand scale" (cf. pair-royal "three of a kind in cards or dice," c.1600). The Royal Oak was a tree in Boscobel in Shropshire in which Charles II hid himself during flight after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Sprigs of oak were worn to commemorate his restoration in 1660.


"royal person," c.1400, from royal (adj.). Specifically "member of the royal family" from 1774.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper