sov·er·eign (sŏvər-ĭn, sŏvrĭn)
1. One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit, as:
a. A king, queen, or other noble person who serves as chief of state; a ruler or monarch.
b. A national governing council or committee.
2. A nation that governs territory outside its borders.
3. A gold coin formerly used in Great Britain.
1. Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state.
2. Having supreme rank or power: a sovereign prince.
3. Paramount; supreme: Her sovereign virtue is compassion.
a. Of superlative strength or efficacy: a sovereign remedy.
b. Unmitigated: sovereign contempt.
[Middle English soverain, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *superānus, from Latin super, above; see uper in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.