sovereign

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Old French soverain (whence also modern French souverain), from Vulgar Latin root *superānus (cf. Italian sovrano, Spanish soberano) from Latin super (above). Spelling influenced by folk-etymology association with reign. See also suzerain.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

sovereign (comparative more sovereign, superlative most sovereign)

  1. Exercising power of rule.
    sovereign nation
  2. Exceptional in quality.
  3. (now rare) Extremely potent or effective (of a medicine, remedy etc.).
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.v:
      The soueraigne weede betwixt two marbles plaine / She pownded small, and did in peeces bruze, / And then atweene her lilly handes twaine, / Into his wound the iuyce thereof did scruze []
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      a sovereign remedy
    • (Can we date this quote?) South
      Such a sovereign influence has this passion upon the regulation of the lives and actions of men.
  4. Having supreme, ultimate power.
  5. Princely; royal.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      most sovereign name
  6. Predominant; greatest; utmost; paramount.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Hooker
      We acknowledge him [God] our sovereign good.

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Noun[edit]

sovereign (plural sovereigns)

  1. A monarch; the ruler of a country.
    • Jefferson
      No question is to be made but that the bed of the Mississippi belongs to the sovereign, that is, to the nation.
  2. One who is not a subject to a ruler or nation.
  3. A gold coin formerly used in the United Kingdom.
  4. A very large champagne bottle with the capacity of about 25 liters, equivalent to 33⅓ standard bottles.
  5. Any butterfly of the tribe Nymphalini, or genus Basilarchia, as the ursula and the viceroy.

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