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From Middle English sovereynte, from Anglo-Norman sovereyneté, from Old French souveraineté, from soverain.



sovereignty (countable and uncountable, plural sovereignties)

  1. Of a polity: the state of making laws and controlling resources without the coercion of other nations.
    Synonyms: autarchy, independence, nationality, nationhood
    • 2019, Manuel Valls, What have Britain and Catalonia got in common? Delusions of independence in the Guardian
      In today’s interconnected economies and societies, a formal independence is the opposite of gaining real sovereignty and control. This is because the excluded party would be absent from the table when decisions are made, unable to participate as choices are taken that, sooner or later, will affect them.
    • Saturday, 18th September 2021, The only viable solution to Northern Ireland Protocol must be to repair the damage to the constitution of the United Kingdom, A letter from Dr WB Smith, Thursday
      Parliament must explicitly restore the Act of Union, confirming full British sovereignty over Northern Ireland and the integrity of the UK Internal Market.
  2. Of a ruler: supreme authority over all things.
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, “The Life and Death of King Iohn”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii], page 8, column 2:
      But Fortune, oh, / She is corrupted, chang’d, and wonne from thee, / Sh’adulterates hourely with thine Vnckle Iohn, / And with her golden hand hath pluckt on France / To tread downe faire reſpect of Soueraigntie, / And made his Maieſtie the bawd to theirs.
  3. Of a person: the liberty to decide one's thoughts and actions.