[roi-uh l-tee]
See more synonyms for royalty on
noun, plural roy·al·ties.
  1. royal persons collectively.
  2. royal status, dignity, or power; sovereignty: to be elevated to royalty.
  3. a person of royal lineage; member of a royal family.
  4. royalties, Archaic. prerogatives, rights, or symbolic emblems of a king, queen, or other sovereign.
  5. a royal domain; kingdom; realm.
  6. character or quality proper to or befitting a sovereign; nobility.
  7. a compensation or portion of the proceeds paid to the owner of a right, as a patent or oil or mineral right, for the use of it.
  8. an agreed portion of the income from a work paid to its author, composer, etc., usually a percentage of the retail price of each copy sold.
  9. a royal right, as over minerals, granted by a sovereign to a person or corporation.
  10. the payment made for such a right.

Origin of royalty

1350–1400; Middle English roialte < Old French. See royal, -ty2
Related formsnon·roy·al·ty, noun, plural non·roy·al·ties.pre·roy·al·ty, noun, plural pre·roy·al·ties. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for royalty

Contemporary Examples of royalty

Historical Examples of royalty

  • There was something that is supposed to be the prerogative of royalty in the lift of it.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • She is said to have written some books which brought her fame and royalty.

  • That's four million, and I should take a royalty of four shillings on wholesale orders.

  • I am obliged to use the most of it on the royalty statements you send me.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Mr. Jameson summoned the representative of royalty and spoke to him in a low tone.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for royalty


noun plural -ties
  1. the rank, power, or position of a king or queen
    1. royal persons collectively
    2. one who belongs to the royal family
  2. any quality characteristic of a monarch; kingliness or regal dignity
  3. a percentage of the revenue from the sale of a book, performance of a theatrical work, use of a patented invention or of land, etc, paid to the author, inventor, or proprietor
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 royalty

c.1400, "office or position of a sovereign," also "magnificence," from or modeled on Old French roialte (12c., Modern French royauté), from Vulgar Latin *regalitatem (nominative *regalitas), from Latin regalis (see royal). Sense of "prerogatives or rights granted by a sovereign to an individual or corporation" is from late 15c. From that evolved more general senses, such as "payment to a landowner for use of a mine" (1839), and ultimately "payment to an author, composer, etc." for sale or use of his or her work (1857). Cf. realty.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

royalty in Culture


A payment made for some right or privilege, as when a publisher pays a royalty to an author for the author's granting the publisher the right to sell the author's book.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.