Definition of sovereignty in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Supreme power or authority.

    ‘the sovereignty of Parliament’
    • ‘She said that women desire control and sovereignty over their husbands.’
    • ‘No international authority has any authority over us which diminishes our sovereignty.’
    • ‘The individualistic credo grants each of us sovereignty over what we choose as the best kind of life.’
    • ‘His life and his death taught all those that knew him of God's wisdom, grace, sovereignty and power.’
    • ‘We no longer had sovereignty over our own credit, currency, and related banking affairs.’
    • ‘For these reasons, many modern Austrian economists reject the doctrine of consumer sovereignty.’
    • ‘At some point under our system we have to assert parliamentary sovereignty against judicial activism.’
    • ‘Consumer sovereignty meant the greatest freedom of choice for individuals via the widest provision of alternative broadcast goods.’
    • ‘Bakhtin does not attribute to the real author anything like sovereignty over the discourse he or she produces.’
    • ‘It was more than a legitimisation of sovereignty by Brahmanical ritual; it was an assertion of supreme sovereignty.’
    • ‘Here was the judicial reconciliation of Parliamentary sovereignty with the supremacy of EC law.’
    • ‘People have a right to sovereignty over their own bodies - even teenagers.’
    • ‘God's absolute sovereignty in history, cosmic and personal, is the greatest comfort to Christian believers.’
    • ‘There are certain things that you must not do to me without my consent and this fact gives me a kind of sovereignty over my life that you cannot legitimately invade or diminish.’
    • ‘Her pondering presumes a regal power, a lingering vestige of an era when sovereignty resided not in the people but in the monarch.’
    • ‘The decision to have a child is a fundamental question of sovereignty over your own body, and a decision that no-one else has any right to make.’
    • ‘Parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament can, if it chooses, legislate contrary to fundamental principles of human rights.’
    • ‘The sovereignty of this Parliament is the one thing that underpins everything about this country.’
    • ‘As a political system, democracy starts with the assumption of popular sovereignty, vesting ultimate power in the people.’
    • ‘The Government has the right to regulate and the sovereignty of Parliament is assured.’
    jurisdiction, supremacy, dominion, power, ascendancy, suzerainty, tyranny, hegemony, domination, sway, predominance, authority, control, influence, rule
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    1. 1.1The authority of a state to govern itself or another state.
      ‘national sovereignty’
      • ‘France, Portugal and Greece allegedly have reservations about ceding national sovereignty over their airspace.’
      • ‘The two occupying powers cared little for the country's sovereignty and well-being.’
      • ‘Republican architecture became a proud symbol of Dominican sovereignty.’
      • ‘The president said that foreign relations were the most important symbol of a nation's independent sovereignty.’
      • ‘A head of state must defend his or her country's sovereignty.’
      • ‘Many of the world's developing countries were formerly under the sovereignty of a colonial power.’
      • ‘The treaty grants Britain sovereignty over the sites in perpetuity.’
      • ‘Restoration of that country's sovereignty would lead willy-nilly to the arrival of democracy there.’
      • ‘Westphalian sovereignty is violated when external actors influence or determine domestic authority structures.’
      • ‘Full national sovereignty was regained in 1992 with the evacuation of most of the Soviet troops stationed in Poland.’
      • ‘The Republic of Fiji Military Forces was established to defend the nation's territorial sovereignty.’
      • ‘In 1657 Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, gained full sovereignty over the duchy.’
      • ‘Neither Spain nor Guatemala ever exercised effective sovereignty over the area.’
      • ‘Illegal immigration threatens our sovereignty, our security, reverence for the rule of law.’
      • ‘With the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, the legal basis for the concept of national sovereignty was established.’
      autonomy, independence, self-government, self-rule, home rule, self-legislation, self-determination, non-alignment, freedom
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    2. 1.2[count noun]A self-governing state.
      • ‘Is ‘confederation’ just another word for two independent sovereignties talking to each other to coordinate, where possible, policy objectives and implementation?’
      • ‘The Liddell plan would create a chaotic parliamentary map of Scotland resembling the petty sovereignties of the Holy Roman Empire.’
      • ‘It took from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century for Europeans to achieve peaceful sovereignties with peaceful transitions of power.’
      • ‘If the latter is the case, and if Quebec secedes, two separate national sovereignties result.’
      • ‘What we may be witnessing is global capitalism destroying national sovereignties, leading to a global government, much as Marx described capitalism's role in the overthrow of feudalism and the rise of the nation-state.’
      • ‘Millions have been killed to reach ‘agreement’ about the various sovereignties we now see delimited in our atlases and car-maps.’
      • ‘The treaties of Westphalia formally recognized the existence of separate sovereignties in one international society.’
      • ‘According to Davies, Medieval Ireland was less a unitary commonwealth after the pattern of England than a clustered multitude of sovereignties.’
      • ‘We are all New Zealanders, and there should be a single sovereignty.’
      • ‘To the Western Europeans who came to the New World, treaties were documents that essentially codified agreements made between two or more sovereignties.’
      • ‘The most it can ever realistically hope for - even if a liberal democracy were to take root on the mainland - is an arrangement along the lines of the European Union that preserves separate sovereignties.’
      • ‘Fifteen sovereignties cannot a foreign or military policy make, even though, were they to federate into one sovereignty, they could exert power equal to that of the United States.’
      • ‘An independent sovereignty was thus interposed between the two divisions of his kingdom.’
      • ‘Ancient sovereignties such as the Holy Roman Empire and the Venetian Republic were destroyed: nearly 60 per cent of Germans changed rulers during the Revolution.’
      • ‘Each individual sovereignty has its natural frontiers within which it may operate and outside of which it may not pass without violating other sovereignties.’
      • ‘According to federalist doctrine, the states are separate sovereignties, not subordinate but equal to the national government.’
      • ‘It was not the supersession of one or several sovereignties by a single sovereignty, but a division and sharing of sovereignty.’


Late Middle English: from Old French sovereinete, from soverain (see sovereign).