[sov-rin, sov-er-in, suhv-]
  1. a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler.
  2. a person who has supreme power or authority.
  3. a group or body of persons or a state having sovereign authority.
  4. a gold coin of the United Kingdom, equal to one pound sterling: went out of circulation after 1914.
  1. belonging to or characteristic of a sovereign or sovereign authority; royal.
  2. having supreme rank, power, or authority.
  3. supreme; preeminent; indisputable: a sovereign right.
  4. greatest in degree; utmost or extreme.
  5. being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc.
  6. efficacious; potent: a sovereign remedy.

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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for unsovereign


  1. a person exercising supreme authority, esp a monarch
  2. a former British gold coin worth one pound sterling
  1. supreme in rank or authoritya sovereign lord
  2. excellent or outstandinga sovereign remedy
  3. of, relating to, or characteristic of a sovereign
  4. 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 unsovereign



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