Definition of reign in US English:



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  • 1Hold royal office; rule as king or queen.

    ‘Queen Elizabeth reigns over the UK’
    • ‘General clutter seems to reign supreme, culminating in a teetering mountain of disgustingly neglected pots and pans.’
    • ‘From that date on, government would play a far smaller role in the economy, and markets would reign supreme.’
    • ‘At home, he would find a welcoming and loving reception from his wife and children at the end of a hard day and there, regardless of his standing in the outside world, he would reign supreme.’
    • ‘The underdogs reigned supreme as stars succumbed to fatigue’
    • ‘Of course, vanilla will always reign supreme when it comes to ice cream.’
    • ‘You could call it an all-children show, where children reign supreme.’
    • ‘Another major difference is that the British monarchy still reigns in many countries of the former British Empire.’
    • ‘I would argue that while profits remain the centerpiece of Capitalistic processes, financial and speculative profits today reign supreme.’
    • ‘Despite possessing many of the qualities needed to govern, the king had reigned but never ruled.’
    • ‘The East Side is one of those places where the New York elite reign supreme.’
    • ‘We in this country now live in a society where money and convenience reign supreme.’
    • ‘But whether you're a ship enthusiast, royal watcher or both, the legacy of the royal ships will always reign at sea.’
    • ‘The monarch reigns, but does not rule the nation per se, acting only with the approval of Parliament.’
    • ‘Browns and copper colors reign supreme, and the image radiates warmth.’
    • ‘Captains used to reign supreme; questioning their judgment handicapped career advancement.’
    • ‘His life is incredible, and he continues to reign supreme and makes a little money, too.’
    • ‘Democracy has been conveniently thrown out the door and in its wake imperialist and dictatorial rule reign supreme.’
    • ‘While children reign supreme for advertisers, in the world of books, it is the parents who have the final word, according to publishers.’
    • ‘And we pay these modern-day monarchs to reign over and rule us.’
    • ‘Now Lutz, who will reign supreme over every aspect of vehicle operations from the design studio to the factory floor, wants to change all that.’
    ruling, regnant
    be king, be queen, be monarch, be sovereign, sit on the throne, occupy the throne, wear the crown, wield the sceptre, hold sway, rule, govern, be in power
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    1. 1.1 Be the best or most important in a particular area or domain.
      ‘in America, baseball reigns supreme’
      • ‘Coughlin, the world record holder and reigning Olympic champion, had to settle for third.’
      • ‘A committed team effort from Kendal was rewarded with a 35-run victory over reigning Northern Premier League champions Darwen at Birch Hall on Saturday.’
      • ‘In a surprise development, reigning Leinster and All Ireland champions Louth took the dreaded drop.’
      • ‘It is also expected that the reigning World Ploughing Champion will take part.’
      • ‘He said it was about time another service took out the honours as Service champions, with the Victoria Police reigning winners for the past five years.’
      • ‘These girls were unlucky to lose out to reigning All-Ireland champions Rathcoole in the Leinster final of the Community Games in the summer.’
      • ‘They weren't too disappointed because the person that beat them was not only the reigning champion for their region, but was also reigning world champion.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the reigning champion has announced that he will contest the series that begins in Hockenheim next weekend.’
      • ‘Instead of working their way back into the game as reigning champions should be expected to do, they constantly bombarded Quirke with high balls as they desperately sought a lifeline through a goal.’
      • ‘The local ladies football club and reigning junior ladies champions, took part in their first juvenile match on Saturday, May 27.’
      • ‘The southern club impressed all year and it was no surprise that they defeated the reigning champions to take the title.’
      • ‘In the League semi-final Carlow shocked reigning Ulster champions, Armagh, to reach the county's lone NFL final.’
      • ‘Last year Waterford travelled to Thurles to face Cork, as reigning Munster Champions after that memorable victory over Tipperary in Cork in '02.’
      • ‘As reigning All-Ireland champions, the perspective has changed, as has the attitude.’
      • ‘Tipp were reigning All Ireland Champions, while Waterford were looking for their first Munster crown in 39 years.’
      incumbent, current, in office, presiding, in power
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    2. 1.2 (of a quality or condition) prevail; predominate.
      ‘confusion reigned’
      • ‘Chaos reigned as officials and reporters haplessly endeavoured to stay calm through the calamity and make some sense of the senseless.’
      • ‘Staying unruffled while chaos reigns all around you is the hallmark of corporate leadership.’
      • ‘Silence reigns over the hall until Peter can't take it any more.’
      • ‘Chaos reigns as paramedics attempt to evacuate the wounded, and security officials try to clear the area, fearing more bomb attacks.’
      • ‘After a year of smiling while chaos reigned behind her and the journalists screamed for more coffee, Caitlin has been inspired to head off to university to study communication.’
      • ‘Chaos reigned in the main entranceway as police officers swarmed into the building.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, anarchy reigns in the countryside as bandits, vowing to help the poor, raid and slaughter government convoys.’
      • ‘Chaos reigned throughout the cabins as the plane slowly leaked air.’
      • ‘As it happened, peace reigned for much of 1802, but the on-off war with France resumed in May 1803.’
      • ‘Traffic chaos will reign throughout Kerry because of a failure to consider longterm implications of housing developments, it has been claimed.’
      • ‘At the airfield, chaos reigned as rescue crews equipped with fire extinguishers doused the flames emanating from the downed fighter.’
      • ‘Chaos reigned for a few minutes before Jonathan could settle them down.’
      • ‘Silence reigns over the public library, and this corner in particular.’
      • ‘All around him, chaos and disorder reigned.’
      • ‘Quality reigns when it comes to choosing an adequate outsource partner, but the significance of inventory management capabilities is increasing.’
      • ‘There are certain art historical opinions that might as well be established fact: reigning opinions about Goya, for example.’
      • ‘But chaos reigns after the arrival of Japanese occupying forces.’
      • ‘The party's lack of emphasis on defense didn't matter much when peace and prosperity reigned.’
      • ‘Finding the best art anywhere - even in New York - requires free-wheeling open-mindedness, unburdened by reigning ideas and trends.’
      • ‘Perhaps the best course is for each of us to work toward positive change in the world and hope that peace will reign.’
      prevailing, existing, extant, contemporary, present, current, modern, latest
      prevail, exist, be in existence, be present, be the case, hold, obtain, occur, be prevalent, be current, be rife, be rampant, be the order of the day, be customary, be established, be common, be widespread, be in force, be in effect
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  • 1The period during which a sovereign rules.

    ‘the original chapel was built in the reign of Charles I’
    • ‘Excavation has disproved the old idea that the mid-Saxon economy was moribund and that no significant steps towards urbanism were taken before the reign of Alfred the Great.’
    • ‘The memorial was built during the reign of Maharaja Kirt Shah in 1897.’
    • ‘Political hostility continued during the latter part of the reign of Henry III who succeeded John in 1216.’
    • ‘He made his official debut at the Paris Opera in 1759 during the reign of Louis XIV.’
    • ‘It was the official religion during the reign of the monarchy and is currently the unofficial religion.’
    • ‘However, Mughal supremacy in India was not established till the reign of Akbar and before that there were times when the Mughals were in danger of extinction.’
    • ‘The short and troubled reigns of Cnut's sons saw the rise of powerful dynasties in England.’
    • ‘He served as a principal secretary to four successive Tudor monarchs, from Henry VIII to the early reign of Queen Elizabeth.’
    • ‘If anything, the reign of Henry VII marked as much the triumph of the king's courtiers in politics as of the king himself.’
    • ‘However, we have to wait till the reign of Shah Jahan for the full genius of Mughal architecture to come forth.’
    • ‘The reign of Alexander III did a great deal to extend the power of the tsar at the expense of liberties taken for granted in Western Europe.’
    • ‘People who longed for a more thorough introduction of Reformation principles during the reigns from Henry VIII to James I heavily relied on the Old Testament.’
    • ‘Another intriguing find from the cemetery was a group of seven gold coins from the reign of Henry VIII known as ‘angels’.’
    • ‘Wales was legally annexed by the Act of Union 1536, in the reign of Henry VIII of England.’
    • ‘The rules governing the use of the Royal Standard were tightened during the reign of Edward VII.’
    • ‘He was born in Exeter on March 25th, 1545, the eldest son of John Bodley, a Protestant merchant who during the reign of Mary Tudor sought refuge with his family in Geneva.’
    • ‘His immensely successful career at the English court spans the reigns of five monarchs; he was knighted in 1692 and made a baronet in 1715.’
    • ‘The issue of direct royal control over the army largely died away during the reign of Queen Anne and the Hanoverians.’
    • ‘A modern historian has said that at no period of her history has Scotland ever stood relatively so high in the scale of nations as during the reign of this excellent monarch.’
    • ‘When the Queen first began her reign, monarchs were expected to be somewhat detached, grand and distant figures, especially the British monarch.’
    rule, sovereignty, monarchy
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    1. 1.1 The period during which someone or something is predominant or preeminent.
      ‘these historic seconds inaugurated the reign of negative political advertising’
      • ‘The reaction was good, it made it entertaining which just shows the benefit of having a long title reign.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Jonathan Edwards saw his reign as European champion brought to an end as the triple jump great was toppled by Sweden's Christian Olsson.’
      • ‘Considering your long reign on the screen what made you stand out when there were many actresses who were as beautiful and talented?’
      • ‘Even in the darkest early days of his reign as Down manager he never tried to offload the blame for defeat.’
      • ‘His wife secretly taught their four daughters during the Taliban's oppressive reign, a time when girls were denied an education.’
      • ‘The pope's reign is officially over at the end of his funeral mass this Friday.’
      • ‘The longest title reign in heavyweight history is shortened to four years instead of just under 12.’
      • ‘Hughes defended his reign, despite criticism of his record of failing to win nine successive competitive matches.’
      • ‘His reign as the Irish soccer manager could have been so much better if only a series of incidents had to fall in his favour rather than against him.’
      • ‘She knew they were not happy last year when they had lost their three-year reign as champions to a pair of nobodies.’
      • ‘During his reign as manager, English helped Tipp to win one All-Ireland, one Munster championship and two National League titles.’
      • ‘Her older and crustier crew, holdovers from her father's reign as captain, has no trouble accepting a teenager as the sole decision maker for the ship.’
      • ‘Now, after a year of working closely with the Spa Ladies Committee, her reign officially ends this Friday.’
      • ‘But after this record's relentless reign of joy, even the most carefree individuals may feel like frowning, just to make sure they still can.’
      • ‘I understand now how the war ended a contemptible reign of terror by brutal religious bigots.’
      • ‘Sometimes they'll let me just have free reign, or it's a collaboration.’
      period in office, incumbency, tenancy, managership, leadership
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The correct idiomatic phrase is a free rein, not a free reign; see rein


Middle English: from Old French reignier ‘to reign’, reigne ‘kingdom’, from Latin regnum, related to rex, reg- ‘king’.