Definition of suzerain in English:



  • 1A sovereign or state having some control over another state that is internally autonomous.

    • ‘The policy of the local ruler of Fergana against the Arabs oscillated between conciliation and attempts to call in aid from the Chinese Emperors as nominal suzerains over Central Asia and from the Turks.’
    • ‘Weinfeld argues that just as these political documents demand exclusive fidelity of the vassal toward the suzerain, so too is exclusive fidelity demanded of Israel toward its God.’
    • ‘In 1840 the government of Adolphe Thiers tried to revive Napoleon's glories in the Orient by supporting the pasha of Egypt in his bid to take Syria from his suzerain, the Ottoman Emperor.’
    • ‘Both the United States and Japan are deeply worried about the future trajectory of a nuclear-equipped North Korean state, and in the long run by a unified Korea strategically tied more to its historical suzerain - China - than to the West.’
    • ‘Among those heirs, Lachlan, a Princeton graduate, shares his father's conservative politics, making him a logical suzerain for the right-wing New York Post.’
    • ‘The Turks, as nominal suzerains of Egypt, declared war on France, and to prevent them from using Syria as a base from which to attack him, Napoleon invaded Palestine in February 1799.’
    • ‘Nevski kept good relations with the Golden Horde, the Mongol army that swept over Eastern Europe in the 13 th century and established a suzerain in Russia.’
    • ‘It is the suzerain power, and therefore has rights over Tibet.’
    lord, overlord, lord and master, ruler, sovereign, monarch, liege, liege lord
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    1. 1.1historical A feudal overlord.
      • ‘His man was soon driven out, but his intervention established a definite French influence and reminded everyone that he was the suzerain of the Flemings.’
      • ‘Functional differentiation did of course arise in the suzerain - vassal pattern of political relations that typified both ancient and classical empires, and the modern ones of the European imperial age.’
      • ‘According to Ravina, the autonomy of domains in early modem Japan was based on three sources of legitimacy: feudal authority, patrimonial authority, and suzerain authority.’
      • ‘The following spring Manual made a triumphal entry into the city and established himself as the unquestioned suzerain of Antioch.’
      • ‘To preserve his ‘state’, the king had to exploit his ‘lordship’ as a feudal suzerain.’
      leader, chieftain, head, headman, ruler, overlord, master, commander, seigneur, liege, liege lord, potentate
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Early 19th century: from French, apparently from sus ‘above’ (from Latin su(r)sum ‘upward’), suggested by souverain ‘sovereign’.