[ soo-zuh-rin, -reyn ]
/ ˈsu zə rɪn, -ˌreɪn /


a sovereign or a state exercising political control over a dependent state.
History/Historical. a feudal overlord.


characteristic of or being a suzerain.

Origin of suzerain

1800–10; < French, equivalent to sus above (< Latin sūsum, variant of sursum, contraction of subversum, neuter of subversus upturned; see sub-, verse) + (souv)erain sovereign Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for suzerain

British Dictionary definitions for suzerain


/ (ˈsuːzəˌreɪn) /


  1. a state or sovereign exercising some degree of dominion over a dependent state, usually controlling its foreign affairs
  2. (as modifier)a suzerain power
  1. a feudal overlord
  2. (as modifier)suzerain lord

Word Origin for suzerain

C19: from French, from sus above (from Latin sursum turned upwards, from sub- up + vertere to turn) + -erain, as in souverain sovereign
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