See more synonyms for sultan on
  1. the sovereign of an Islamic country.
  2. (often initial capital letter) any of the former sovereigns of Turkey.
  3. any absolute ruler or despot.

Origin of sultan

1545–55; < Middle French < Turkish < Arabic sulṭān sovereign
Related formssul·tan·ic [suhl-tan-ik] /sʌlˈtæn ɪk/, adjectivesul·tan·like, adjectivesul·tan·ship, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for sultan


  1. the sovereign of a Muslim country, esp of the former Ottoman Empire
  2. an arbitrary ruler; despot
  3. a small domestic fowl with a white crest and heavily feathered legs and feet: originated in Turkey
Derived Formssultanic (sʌlˈtænɪk), adjectivesultan-like, adjectivesultanship, noun

Word Origin for sultan

C16: from Medieval Latin sultānus, from Arabic sultān rule, from Aramaic salita to rule
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 sultan

1550s, from Middle French sultan "ruler of Turkey" (16c.), from Arabic sultan "ruler, king, queen, power, dominion," from Aramaic shultana "power," from shelet "have power." His wife, mother, daughter, concubine, or sister is a sultana.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper