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reign definition


This page has 7 definitions of reign in English. Reign is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use reign in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Reign and rein


Alternative forms


From Middle English regnen, from Old French reignier, from the Latin verb rēgnō, and the noun rēgnum. Doublet of regnum.



reign (plural reigns)

  1. The exercise of sovereign power.
    England prospered under Elizabeth I's reign.
    • 2020 December 6, Xin Yan, “The Seemingly Impossible Is Possible”, in Minghui[1]:
      Throughout history, no single dictator has successfully upheld their reign forever, no matter how powerful they seemed to be.
  2. The period during which a monarch rules.
    The reign of Victoria was a long one.
  3. The territory or sphere over which a kingdom; empire; realm; dominion, etc. is ruled.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


reign (third-person singular simple present reigns, present participle reigning, simple past and past participle reigned)

  1. (intransitive) To exercise sovereign power, to rule as a monarch.
    He reigned in an autocratic manner.
  2. (transitive, rare, nonstandard) To reign over (a country)
    • 2007, Anna Chilewska, Writing after the gaze: the rupture of the historical[2]:
      The House of Piast reigned Poland from its foundation to 1385.
  3. To be the winner of the most recent iteration of a competition.
  4. To be a dominant quality of a place or situation; to prevail, predominate, rule.
    Silence reigned.
    • 1936, F.J. Thwaites, The Redemption, Sydney: H. John Edwards Publishing, published 1940, page 58:
      Silence reigned, broken only by the hideous screeching of vultures and the sound of a lawn-mower being used in the hospital grounds.
    • 2007, Richard Bawden, “Redesigning Animal Agriculture: a Systemic Perspective”, in David L. Swain, Ed Charmley, John Steel, Shaun Coffey, editors, Redesigning Animal Agriculture: The Challenge of the 21st Century[3], CABI, page 1:
      Unfortunately – and ironically – the word ‘system’ itself is used in such a wide variety of contexts within animal science, as indeed it is in virtually every domain of human activity, that confusion reigns about what a systems-oriented research programme actually looks like and what systems-oriented animal scientists actually do.

Derived terms