Definition of potentate in English:



  • A monarch or ruler, especially an autocratic one.

    • ‘Back then, envoys from both powers criss-crossed this territory, hoping to curry favour with the regional potentates.’
    • ‘Knighted by Queen Victoria in 1848, he made himself an independent potentate.’
    • ‘These states have remained theocracies, and so sharia, or Koranic law, remains the highest authority, even for secular potentates.’
    • ‘Like Renaissance princes, its potentates create their own moral universe.’
    • ‘Marco Polo, like many Europeans after him, remarked on the curious fact that local potentates wore minimal clothing with loads of jewellery.’
    • ‘Their faces were as immobile as those of potentates receiving tribute from conquered tribes.’
    • ‘Chiefs and rajas, sultans and potentates succumbed to western authority with no apparent regret on the part of their subjects.’
    • ‘And their power-crazed heads obviously long to wear a crown, which is why they behave like old-style nawabs and potentates.’
    • ‘The power of a star on the set is tantamount to that of a potentate.’
    • ‘It is very serious, very diplomatic-looking; you could imagine it being driven by foreign potentates and dictators.’
    • ‘Renaissance potentates kept dwarfs, whom they dressed up, slobbered over, passed around at the dinner table, or presented as gifts to influential friends.’
    • ‘Elizabeth's refusal to alter with the times is characteristic of ageing potentates generally, but it ensured that few mourned her as she lay among her cushions.’
    • ‘Elected officials come and go, but the military potentates, policies and budgets go on and on.’
    • ‘The Dutch tried to put it together and were able to keep it together through playing sultans and local princes and potentates off against one another for several centuries.’
    • ‘Perhaps a time bomb has been planted under the thrones of Arab potentates - kings, emirs and presidents.’
    • ‘Lumps of capital investment from surprising places will also be discerned: the national investment portfolios of oil states, the capital-flight of third world potentates on the take.’
    • ‘I recall focus groups in the last couple of weeks before election 2000, after the debates, when these swing voters were being fêted like visiting potentates by the networks.’
    • ‘But there is no Caesar here, no master of empire, just minor potentates ruling an unstable bipolar turf with its black economy of police snitches and corrupt cops.’
    • ‘And there are still the big-spending customers - potentates whose immeasurable wealth is coupled with discerning taste.’
    • ‘He does, after all, have a few other things to do - like take congratulatory phone calls from the world's presidents and potentates.’
    ruler, head of state, monarch, sovereign, king, queen, emperor, empress, prince, tsar, crowned head, mogul, dynast, overlord, leader
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Late Middle English: from Latin potentatus ‘dominion’, from potent- ‘being able or powerful’ (see potent).