Definition of sovereignty in English:



  • 1Supreme power or authority.

    ‘how can we hope to wrest sovereignty away from the oligarchy and back to the people?’
    • ‘Her pondering presumes a regal power, a lingering vestige of an era when sovereignty resided not in the people but in the monarch.’
    • ‘At some point under our system we have to assert parliamentary sovereignty against judicial activism.’
    • ‘For these reasons, many modern Austrian economists reject the doctrine of consumer sovereignty.’
    • ‘Here was the judicial reconciliation of Parliamentary sovereignty with the supremacy of EC law.’
    • ‘As a political system, democracy starts with the assumption of popular sovereignty, vesting ultimate power in the people.’
    • ‘Bakhtin does not attribute to the real author anything like sovereignty over the discourse he or she produces.’
    • ‘The individualistic credo grants each of us sovereignty over what we choose as the best kind of life.’
    • ‘God's absolute sovereignty in history, cosmic and personal, is the greatest comfort to Christian believers.’
    • ‘The Government has the right to regulate and the sovereignty of Parliament is assured.’
    • ‘It was more than a legitimisation of sovereignty by Brahmanical ritual; it was an assertion of supreme sovereignty.’
    • ‘The decision to have a child is a fundamental question of sovereignty over your own body, and a decision that no-one else has any right to make.’
    • ‘She said that women desire control and sovereignty over their husbands.’
    • ‘His life and his death taught all those that knew him of God's wisdom, grace, sovereignty and power.’
    • ‘People have a right to sovereignty over their own bodies - even teenagers.’
    • ‘There are certain things that you must not do to me without my consent and this fact gives me a kind of sovereignty over my life that you cannot legitimately invade or diminish.’
    • ‘The sovereignty of this Parliament is the one thing that underpins everything about this country.’
    • ‘No international authority has any authority over us which diminishes our sovereignty.’
    • ‘We no longer had sovereignty over our own credit, currency, and related banking affairs.’
    • ‘Parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament can, if it chooses, legislate contrary to fundamental principles of human rights.’
    • ‘Consumer sovereignty meant the greatest freedom of choice for individuals via the widest provision of alternative broadcast goods.’
    jurisdiction, supremacy, dominion, power, ascendancy, suzerainty, tyranny, hegemony, domination, sway, predominance, authority, control, influence, rule
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    1. 1.1The authority of a state to govern itself or another state.
      ‘national sovereignty’
      • ‘France, Portugal and Greece allegedly have reservations about ceding national sovereignty over their airspace.’
      • ‘Republican architecture became a proud symbol of Dominican sovereignty.’
      • ‘The Republic of Fiji Military Forces was established to defend the nation's territorial sovereignty.’
      • ‘In 1657 Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, gained full sovereignty over the duchy.’
      • ‘Full national sovereignty was regained in 1992 with the evacuation of most of the Soviet troops stationed in Poland.’
      • ‘The two occupying powers cared little for the country's sovereignty and well-being.’
      • ‘Neither Spain nor Guatemala ever exercised effective sovereignty over the area.’
      • ‘Many of the world's developing countries were formerly under the sovereignty of a colonial power.’
      • ‘A head of state must defend his or her country's sovereignty.’
      • ‘Illegal immigration threatens our sovereignty, our security, reverence for the rule of law.’
      • ‘Westphalian sovereignty is violated when external actors influence or determine domestic authority structures.’
      • ‘With the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, the legal basis for the concept of national sovereignty was established.’
      • ‘Restoration of that country's sovereignty would lead willy-nilly to the arrival of democracy there.’
      • ‘The treaty grants Britain sovereignty over the sites in perpetuity.’
      • ‘The president said that foreign relations were the most important symbol of a nation's independent sovereignty.’
      autonomy, independence, self-government, self-rule, home rule, self-legislation, self-determination, non-alignment, freedom
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    2. 1.2A self-governing state.
      • ‘An independent sovereignty was thus interposed between the two divisions of his kingdom.’
      • ‘It was not the supersession of one or several sovereignties by a single sovereignty, but a division and sharing of sovereignty.’
      • ‘The treaties of Westphalia formally recognized the existence of separate sovereignties in one international society.’
      • ‘Ancient sovereignties such as the Holy Roman Empire and the Venetian Republic were destroyed: nearly 60 per cent of Germans changed rulers during the Revolution.’
      • ‘We are all New Zealanders, and there should be a single sovereignty.’
      • ‘To the Western Europeans who came to the New World, treaties were documents that essentially codified agreements made between two or more sovereignties.’
      • ‘What we may be witnessing is global capitalism destroying national sovereignties, leading to a global government, much as Marx described capitalism's role in the overthrow of feudalism and the rise of the nation-state.’
      • ‘According to federalist doctrine, the states are separate sovereignties, not subordinate but equal to the national government.’
      • ‘The Liddell plan would create a chaotic parliamentary map of Scotland resembling the petty sovereignties of the Holy Roman Empire.’
      • ‘Each individual sovereignty has its natural frontiers within which it may operate and outside of which it may not pass without violating other sovereignties.’
      • ‘According to Davies, Medieval Ireland was less a unitary commonwealth after the pattern of England than a clustered multitude of sovereignties.’
      • ‘It took from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century for Europeans to achieve peaceful sovereignties with peaceful transitions of power.’
      • ‘Is ‘confederation’ just another word for two independent sovereignties talking to each other to coordinate, where possible, policy objectives and implementation?’
      • ‘Millions have been killed to reach ‘agreement’ about the various sovereignties we now see delimited in our atlases and car-maps.’
      • ‘The most it can ever realistically hope for - even if a liberal democracy were to take root on the mainland - is an arrangement along the lines of the European Union that preserves separate sovereignties.’
      • ‘Fifteen sovereignties cannot a foreign or military policy make, even though, were they to federate into one sovereignty, they could exert power equal to that of the United States.’
      • ‘If the latter is the case, and if Quebec secedes, two separate national sovereignties result.’


Late Middle English: from Old French sovereinete, from soverain (see sovereign).