sovereign

EnglishEdit

 
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Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English sovereyn, from Old French soverain (whence also modern French souverain), from Vulgar Latin *superānus (compare Italian sovrano, Spanish soberano) from Latin super (above). Spelling influenced by folk-etymology association with reign. Doublet of soprano, from the same Latin root via Italian. See also suzerain, foreign.

PronunciationEdit

AdjectiveEdit

sovereign (comparative more sovereign, superlative most sovereign)

  1. Exercising power of rule.
    sovereign nation
  2. Exceptional in quality.
    Her voice was her sovereign talent.
  3. (now rare, pharmacology) 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 []
    • 1876, John Davies, “[Tobacco.]”, in Alexander B[alloch] Grosart, editor, The Complete Poems of Sir John Davies. Edited, with Memorial-Introduction and Notes, by the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart. In Two Volumes (Early English Poets), volume II, London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly, OCLC 752538909, page 226:
      Homer of Moly and Nepenthe singes: / Moly, the gods most soveraigne hearbe divine. / Nepenth Hellen's drink, which gladnes brings,— / Hart's greife repells, and doth ye witts refine.
    • 1681, John Dryden, The Spanish Fryar
      a sovereign remedy
    • 1698, Robert South, Twelve Sermons upon Several Subjects and Occasions
      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.
  6. Predominant; greatest; utmost; paramount.
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie
      We acknowledge him [God] our sovereign good.

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

NounEdit

sovereign (plural sovereigns)

 
A sovereign
  1. A monarch; the ruler of a country.
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, Lvcrece (First Quarto)‎[1], London: Printed by Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, [], OCLC 236076664:
      The petty ſtreames that paie a dailie det / To their ſalt ſoveraigne with their freſh fals haſt, / Adde to his flowe, but alter not his taſt.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 242-249:
      Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime, / Said then the lost Archangel, this the seat / That we must change for Heaven?, this mournful gloom / For that celestial light? Be it so, since hee / Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid / What shall be right : fardest from him is best / Whom reason hath equald, force hath made supream / Above his equals. []
    • 1785, Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia
      No question is to be made but that the bed of the Missisippi[sic] 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 of the United Kingdom, with a nominal value of one pound sterling but in practice used as a bullion coin.
  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.
  6. (Britain, slang) A large, garish ring; a sovereign ring.
    • 2004, December 11, "Birkenhead, Merseyside" BBC Voices recording (0:06:52)
      No, someone who wears loads of sovereigns as well loads of gold and has uh a curly perm and peroxide blonde hair, orange, orange sunbed skin and a fringe like this blow-dried to death, that’s a ‘scally’.
    • 2011 July 1, Caroline Davies, “Harrods 'ladies' code' drives out sales assistant”, in The Guardian[2]:
      No visible tattoos, sovereigns, mismatched jewellery, scrunchies, large clips or hoop earrings.

HyponymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

DescendantsEdit

  • Irish: sabhran
  • Russian: соверен (soveren)
  • Scottish Gaelic: sòbharan
  • Welsh: sofren

TranslationsEdit

See alsoEdit

VerbEdit

sovereign (third-person singular simple present sovereigns, present participle sovereigning, simple past and past participle sovereigned)

  1. (transitive) To rule over as a sovereign.

AnagramsEdit