Definition of dominion in US English:



  • 1Sovereignty or control.

    ‘man's attempt to establish dominion over nature’
    • ‘Expectations that wild animals be seen and not heard, that they not get too close, reveal that we still believe we hold dominion over animals and nature.’
    • ‘The cells reduced all other species to near elimination, and established dominion over the corporeal plane of the entity.’
    • ‘By the time Orwell returned to England in 1927 he had a hatred not just of colonialism, but of ‘every form of man's dominion over man’.’
    • ‘Such dominion, already established with the water mill and other mechanisations, became part of the perspective of the new intellectuals.’
    • ‘There's no sign that any monarch would have recognised the concept, given that throughout history they'd a habit of claiming dominion over many nations.’
    • ‘In truth they are animated by nothing but their own lust for power and their desire for dominion over others.’
    • ‘It identifies the restoration of dominion over the powers in the new humanity.’
    • ‘You grit your teeth in pride as the machine roars to terrible life, proclaiming your dominion over all who dare to get in your way.’
    • ‘From public schools to elementary schools, the history of the empire was still little taught, while for most young people Empire Day meant an extra holiday rather than a commitment to dominion over palm and pine.’
    • ‘Humans can labour with their hands and brains, can plan and develop productive techniques, and have amassed centuries of culture and knowledge that have enabled them to control and hold dominion over the rest of nature.’
    • ‘To consider work and the worker in the light of humanity's dominion over the earth goes to the very heart of the ethical and social question.’
    • ‘Those who advocate corporate dominion over broadband services dismiss the notion that consumer choice will be curtailed.’
    • ‘The revisionists' dominion over the domestic side of Cold War history has been even more total.’
    • ‘To further empower corporate dominion over nation-states, it gives private corporations and investors ‘legal standing’ to sue sovereign governments.’
    • ‘That is when the state takes dominion over the highways, treating them as their own.’
    • ‘All activities by which we shape and maintain our world, in all of its many complexities, also are an expression of the power of dominion over the world.’
    • ‘I was filled with fantasies of my new life, a life of travel, financial laissez-faire, and total dominion over my own space.’
    • ‘Traditions teach us that we should have dominion over nature, and not be a part of nature.’
    • ‘We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees.’
    • ‘But of course, not everything in the garden is lovely, and there are times when nature's dominion over the humble gardener can be infuriating.’
    supremacy, ascendancy, dominance, domination, superiority, predominance, pre-eminence, primacy, hegemony, authority, mastery, control, command, direction, power, sway, rule, government, jurisdiction, sovereignty, suzerainty, lordship, overlordship
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  • 2DominionThe territory of a sovereign or government.

    ‘the Angevin dominions’
    • ‘An energetic ruler, he dispatched naval expeditions to Sri Lanka and presided over the military and mercantile expansion of the Pallava dominions.’
    • ‘But they are also fully aware that all the powers and dominions of the earth are arrayed against them and regularly torment them.’
    • ‘In many respects the government has allowed the northern sultanates to apply their own laws in their dominions, and in return the leaders of these ministates lend their support to national governmental structures.’
    • ‘Indeed in 1892, when it was necessary to appoint a new Poet Laureate, Queen Victoria is reported to have said to Gladstone: ‘I am told that Mr Swinburne is the best poet in my dominions.’’
    • ‘Essentially, this involved the welding into a composite monarchy of those territories ruled by medieval kings as ‘parcels’ or dominions of the English crown.’
    • ‘Just as oil and water do not mix, neither do art and life: They are separate and sovereign dominions that coexist without mixing, each with its own idiosyncrasies, values, and morality.’
    • ‘These mass marketing dominions have attitudes struck with such unbelievable good cheer and personalities so beaming they outshine the Northern lights.’
    • ‘There are reasons to defend a poor people, to revolt against an evil government, seize dominions, disagreements, holding land, invasion, self-defense, and so on and so forth.’
    • ‘The ‘specifically asked for it’ clause was necessary because in some instances the dominions did not have the full legal structure of independent nations.’
    • ‘The union leadership has bolstered this tactic by placing control of their respective territorial dominions ahead of the welfare of the union membership.’
    • ‘They have extended their dominions, played with the life and property of their fellow beings, extracted wealth through taxes and tithes from some and bestowed their bounties on others.’
    • ‘So the imperialists had to wait until 1932, when food import tariffs were introduced generally again, and a series of bilateral agreements negotiated with the dominions and colonies to favour them.’
    • ‘He has invaded the dominions of winter and threaded the tangled equatorial jungles of the Amazon.’
    • ‘His dominions included all the lands from the Baltic to the country beyond the Carpathians, and from the River Oder to the provinces beyond the Vistula.’
    • ‘Acceptance - learning to live within the dominions of your entire person - is the ultimate goal.’
    • ‘Subsequently, the Spanish empire and its Italian dominions formed the dominant pole of both political theory and political practice in the peninsula.’
    • ‘America, he noted, has ‘achieved a degree of power in the contemporary world community which dwarfs the dominions of the empires of the past’.’
    • ‘All states and dominions which hold or have held sway over mankind are either republics or monarchies.’
    • ‘Well then, this is the king's command, that you leave the kingdom and all his other dominions with everything belonging to you, for from this day there can be no peace between him and you or any of your people because you have broken the peace.’
    • ‘To these were added a number of European kingdoms and the Spanish dominions in the Americas when Charles was sixteen, and by the age of nineteen he had added the Hapsburg Empire to his possessions.’
    dependency, colony, protectorate, territory, province, outpost, satellite, satellite state
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    1. 2.1Dominionhistorical Each of the self-governing territories of the British Commonwealth.
      • ‘For half a century the Queen has graced the throne of Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and her other dominions as well as performing her duties throughout the Commonwealth, to which she is so devoted.’
      • ‘War itself brought changes as the status of self-governing dominions moved toward de facto independence.’
      • ‘In 1907, New Zealand was made a Dominion of Great Britain.’
      • ‘The British North America Act created the Dominion of Canada by 1867.’
      • ‘Self-governing dominions in the British Empire - such as Canada and after 1947 India - also had one vote each.’
  • 3dominions

    another term for domination (sense 2)
    • ‘From top to bottom, the celestial hierarchy includes seraphim, cherubim, thrones; dominions, virtues, powers; principalities, archangels, and angels.’


Middle English: via Old French from medieval Latin dominio(n-), from Latin dominium, from dominus ‘lord, master’.