Definition of monarch in US English:



  • 1A sovereign head of state, especially a king, queen, or emperor.

    ‘the reigning monarch’
    ‘this followed an attempt by the deposed monarch to regain his throne’
    • ‘Since then I have described the Queen as our monarch or sovereign, and the governor-general as our head of state.’
    • ‘Although politically unified since the reign of the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabel in the late fifteenth century, Spain continues to be divided by regional loyalties.’
    • ‘They called themselves the king and supreme monarch of their respective monarchies by the mandate of heaven.’
    • ‘The British annexed Burma in 1886 during the reign of its last monarch - King Thibaw - who was taken to Calcutta, where he died in 1916.’
    • ‘The English and French monarchs were kings and queens of the land and not the people.’
    • ‘He managed to curry favour with a succession of kings of England and was consort to the nine-year-old monarch Henry III.’
    • ‘The last time the monarch refused to give Royal Assent was in 1707 with Queen Anne.’
    • ‘He served as a principal secretary to four successive Tudor monarchs, from Henry VIII to the early reign of Queen Elizabeth.’
    • ‘Centuries after the city famously locked out the reigning monarch King Charles I, it was a time to forgive and forget.’
    • ‘Stamboliiski boldly opposed Bulgaria's entry into the First World War in the face of the monarch Tsar Ferdinand.’
    • ‘Recently, the museum had the good fortune to acquire the portraits of the monarch and his queen illustrated here.’
    • ‘In 1900, when Queen Victoria was our monarch, banks accounted for roughly a sixth of the value of the entire stock market.’
    • ‘When the Queen first began her reign, monarchs were expected to be somewhat detached, grand and distant figures, especially the British monarch.’
    • ‘The 15th-century gothic church is the burial place of 10 monarchs, including Henry VIII, Charles I and the Queen's father, King George VI.’
    • ‘Ministers will be put under pressure to scrap the law that bans the eldest daughter of a British monarch from becoming queen if she has a brother.’
    • ‘He returned to the throne in 1993 as a constitutional monarch who ‘reigns but does not govern.’’
    • ‘This should not be too surprising as emperors and monarchs had been famous in history for their love of flowers and gardens.’
    • ‘Being a constitutional monarch, the Queen consistently follows the recommendation of the head of government as required.’
    • ‘He shakes hands with the principality's reigning monarch, Prince Hans Adam II, at a garden fête.’
    • ‘Manuscript illumination flourished under the patronage of the dukes of Burgundy, kings of England, Portuguese monarchs, and Hapsburg rulers.’
    sovereign, ruler, crown, crowned head, potentate
    View synonyms
  • 2

    • ‘The most incredible butterfly journey, measured in thousands of miles compared with our painted lady's few hundred mile trip, belongs to the monarch butterfly of North America.’
    • ‘During its final growth stage, the constantly feeding larva of a monarch butterfly consumes an amazing 2.25 times its own weight in milkweed per day.’
    • ‘Conservationists and others concerned about the fate of the monarch butterfly may be heartened by a recent survey of milkweed distribution in the major U.S. corn-growing area.’
    • ‘Some insects, like the monarch butterfly, migrate to warmer climes in winter.’
    • ‘Honey-bees glided over the roses and a monarch butterfly flew over the fence to land on a wing of the cherub.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin monarcha, from Greek monarkhēs, from monos ‘alone’ + arkhein ‘to rule’.