Definition of principality in US English:


nounPlural principalities

  • 1A state ruled by a prince.

    • ‘Perched on a rock, the palace overlooks the principality that Rainier ruled for 56 years.’
    • ‘A line was drawn from Chester down to the Severn estuary, roughly following the English border, but the principality had vanished into the Irish Sea.’
    • ‘For centuries, Salzburg was an independent principality and only became part of Austria in the early nineteenth century.’
    • ‘National Day, 19 November, celebrates Monaco's independence as a principality.’
    • ‘Sometimes a Hungarian principality, Transylvania was primarily a part of the Hungarian Empire.’
    • ‘Machiavelli identifies two ways of governing a principality.’
    • ‘Hilti has its headquarters in Liechtenstein, a principality in Europe, near Switzerland and Austria.’
    • ‘Except for a brief period of French rule under Napoleon, the principality has been independent since 1912.’
    • ‘We came to the smallest principality in Europe as backpackers, not on business.’
    • ‘An inhabitant of the principality, he knows the track well and as one of the fittest and more experienced drivers, he has been a consistently high performer there recently.’
    • ‘The prince is to start visiting Holyrood for blocks of up to five days, just as he has done in his Welsh principality for the past five years, finding that has more impact.’
    • ‘The principality of Andorra, perched between France and Spain, is one of the most popular destinations for European skiers.’
    • ‘Cologne became a principality in 925, when Otto I invested its Archbishop, his brother Bruno, with the authority of count.’
    • ‘The Monte Carlo Rally is based high up in the mountains above the famous principality, and consists of twisty asphalt roads that are normally covered in ice and snow.’
    • ‘Monaco still remains a principality that follows primogeniture, meaning that males take precedence over females in the line of succession.’
    • ‘His son Prince Albert spent his first day as regent of Monaco caring for his critically ill father who still holds the throne of the tiny principality.’
    • ‘He was of noble birth and inherited the principality of Venosa on his father's death in 1586.’
    • ‘The king's tower in the castle, seat of government in the principality, was decorated with imperial eagles.’
    • ‘Machiavelli also mentions the ecclesiastical principality with the pope as the ecclesiastical prince.’
    • ‘Whatever the state of his personal life, the Prince works hard for his country and appears quite capable of running the principality.’
    realm, domain, dominion, country, land, nation, state, sovereign state, province, territory
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    1. 1.1British Wales.
  • 2principalities(in traditional Christian angelology) the fifth highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.

    • ‘One form of theological language that is sometimes used is that of the demonic or principalities and powers.’
    • ‘You will recall that our life struggle is not with one another, but with the demons, the principalities and the powers.’
    • ‘From the point of view of Christian theology, the martyrs are foot soldiers in the battle of the powers and principalities against the body of Christ.’
    • ‘The letter does not suggest the power of evil and that of God to be equal, but neither does it dismiss the very real threat exercised by what Paul elsewhere described as the ‘powers and principalities.’’
    • ‘Christians often find it hard to adopt the spiritual idiom of the New Testament - to think in terms, that is, of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, of Christ's triumph over the principalities of this world, of the overthrow of hell.’


Middle English (denoting the rank of a prince): from Old French principalite, from late Latin principalitas, from Latin principalis ‘first, original’ (see principal).