The Meaning of Reign: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of reign? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word reign, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word reign mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and Dictionary, the word reign (pronunciation: reɪn) can be used as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, this describes the period in which a sovereign or ruler occupies the throne, as well as said royal rule, authority, or sovereignty. It can also be used in a more figurative sense to describe some dominating power or law. A monarch or champion with sovereign power might have a reign of terror or a reign of violence, like the full reign of Henry VIII, the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, or the reign of Queen Victoria. The word reign can be used in many different ways, from the reign of law, to a country in which darkness reigns or money reigns over the territory or neighborhood. 

As a verb, this is used without object and means to possess or hold power or some position of power. This can also be used more generally to describe having control, rule, or influence of any kind. The person who is the official ruler of a country or who holds the title of a sovereign in a constitutional monarchy is considered the ruling power. This person has full reign of the kingdom. The present progressive form of reign, reigning, can also be used as an adjective, i.e. reigning champions.

Someone with the title of monarch has supreme authority and widespread influence for a certain amount of time, usually in a historic period or era of history. A reign is not always positive – often, the scepter will exercise authority during a period of brutal suppression, which may lead to the people wishing to override the government. Supreme power and royal authority are tricky to find a balance of power. 

Many different languages also contain words meaning reign. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called sognates. Cognates are words that look and sound similar between languages while also retaining the same or a similar meaning. Cognates are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of cognates for the word reign is provided by Word Sense

  •  Swedish: regering‎ (common), maktutövning‎
  •  German: Herrschaft‎ (fem.), Regentschaft‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: troon‎ (masc.), bestuur‎ (neut.), heerschappij‎ (fem.)
  •  Turkish: devir‎
  •  Lithuanian: valdyti‎
  •  Norwegian: maktutøvelse‎ (masc.)
  •  Sorani: فه‌رمان ڕه‌وایه‌تی‎
  •  Latvian: valdīt‎
  •  Esperanto: regado‎
  •  Finnish: hallituskausi‎, valta-aika‎
  •  Italian: regno‎ (masc.)
  •  French: règne‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: правле́ние‎ (neut.), ца́рствование‎, верховная власть‎, властвование‎
  •  Spanish: reinado‎ (masc.)
  •  Slovene: vladavina‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: vláda‎
  •  Portuguese: reinado‎ (masc.), reinado‎ (masc.)
  •  Latgalian: vaļdeit‎, kienēt‎
  •  Hungarian: uralom‎
  •  Hijazi Arabic: حُكُم‎
  •  Arabic: حُكْم‎ (masc.)
  •  Catalan: regnat‎ (masc.)

How can the word reign be used in a sentence?

The word reign can be used in many different ways in the examples below.

I can’t wait for the reign of his egotism to be over. It’s just high school theater. 

The quantity of food diminished under her reign when the fire spread.

The reigning copyright rules caused trouble for her.

God reigns over heaven, and Satan hell.

They began to panic when put under the reign of the brute.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word reign?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word reign. THese are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you are trying to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word reign is provided by Thesaurus

  •  supremacy
  •  sway
  •  tenure
  •  government
  •  dominion
  •  command
  •  union
  •  rule
  •  authority
  •  house
  •  empire
  •  management
  •  power
  •  monarchy
  •  regime
  •  pecking order
  •  limited authority
  •  hold sway
  •  sphere
  •  administration
  •  people
  •  system
  •  ascendancy
  •  absolutism
  •  territory
  •  incumbency
  •  sovereignty
  •  control
  •  dynasty
  •  domain
  •  establishment
  •  rank
  •  commonwealth
  •  influence
  •  imperial authority
  •  realm
  •  hegemony
  •  federation
  •  emperor
  •  sceptre

There are also a number of words that have the opposite meaning as the word reign. These opposite words are known as antonyms. Antonyms are another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word reign is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  gap
  •  impairment
  •  lack
  •  weakness
  •  vulnerability
  •  indecision
  •  inconstancy
  •  prostration
  •  irresolution
  •  impotence
  •  infirmity
  •  fault
  •  inclination
  •  inadequacy
  •  blemish
  •  sore point
  •  delicacy
  •  fondness
  •  soft spot
  •  Achilles heel
  •  vice
  •  inferiority
  •  shortcoming
  •  senility
  •  feebleness
  •  taste
  •  languor
  •  chink in armor
  •  flaw
  •  fragility
  •  invalidity
  •  deficiency
  •  decrepitude
  •  helplessness
  •  appetite
  •  lapse
  •  faintness
  •  inability
  •  frailty
  •  penchant
  •  predilection
  •  debility
  •  vitiation
  •  enervation
  •  passion
  •  powerlessness
  •  mediocrity
  •  imperfection
  •  proclivity
  •  liking
  •  instability
  •  failing 

What is the origin of the word reign?

According to Etymonline, the word reign has been used as a noun since the early 13th century to mean kingdom. This word comes from the Old French reigne which gives us the Modern French règne. This comes from the Latin regnum or regnen. The noun regnum means some dominion or realm. This is related to the Latin regere, a verb meaning to rule or guide. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European root reg meaning to move in a straight line. This also gives us the related words regulate, regnant, and others.  Reign has been used as a verb since the late 13th century and comes from the Old French regner, a 12th century verb meaning to rule or reign. Other related words include reigned, reigning, and regnal. This is related to the Latin rex, meaning king. This word is of Indo-European roots. Sometimes it is spelled rein, as in full rein, but this is incorrect.

Overall, the word reign refers to the authority of a sovereign, time period in which a monarch rules, as well as that power or authority itself. This can also be used in a more figurative sense as a noun or a verb. 


  1. Reign: Meaning, Origin, Translation | Word Sense 
  2. REIGN Synonyms: 56 Synonyms & Antonyms for REIGN | Thesaurus 
  3. IMPOTENCE Synonyms: 11 Synonyms & Antonyms for IMPOTENCE | Thesaurus 
  4. Reign | Origin and Meaning of Reign |Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Reign | Definition of Reign | Merriam-Webster
  6. Reign | Definition of Reign |