[sov-rin, sov-er-in, suhv-]



Origin of sovereign

1250–1300; Middle English soverain (alteration by influence of reign) < Old French soverain < Vulgar Latin *superānus, equivalent to Latin super- super- + -ānus -an
Related formssov·er·eign·ly, adverbnon·sov·er·eign, noun, adjectivenon·sov·er·eign·ly, adverbqua·si-sov·er·eign, adjectivesub·sov·er·eign, noun, adjectivesu·per·sov·er·eign, adjective, nounun·der·sov·er·eign, nounun·sov·er·eign, adjective

Synonyms for sovereign Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sovereign

Contemporary Examples of sovereign

Historical Examples of sovereign

British Dictionary definitions for sovereign



a person exercising supreme authority, esp a monarch
a former British gold coin worth one pound sterling


supreme in rank or authoritya sovereign lord
excellent or outstandinga sovereign remedy
of, relating to, or characteristic of a sovereign
independent of outside authoritya sovereign state
Derived Formssovereignly, adverb

Word Origin for sovereign

C13: from Old French soverain, from Vulgar Latin superānus (unattested), from Latin super above; also influenced by reign
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 sovereign

late 13c., "superior, ruler, master," from Old French soverain "sovereign, lord, ruler," noun use of adjective meaning "highest, supreme, chief" (see sovereign (adj.)). Meaning "gold coin worth 22s 6d" first recorded late 15c.; value changed 1817 to 1 pound.


early 14c., "great, superior, supreme," from Old French soverain "highest, supreme, chief," from Vulgar Latin *superanus "chief, principal" (source also of Spanish soberano, Italian soprano), from Latin super "over" (see super-). Spelling influenced by folk-etymology association with reign. Milton spelled it sovran, as though from Italian sovrano. Of remedies or medicines, "potent in a high degree," from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper