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[roi-uh l-tee] /ˈrɔɪ əl ti/
noun, plural royalties.
royal persons collectively.
royal status, dignity, or power; sovereignty:
to be elevated to royalty.
a person of royal lineage; member of a royal family.
royalties, Archaic. prerogatives, rights, or symbolic emblems of a king, queen, or other sovereign.
a royal domain; kingdom; realm.
character or quality proper to or befitting a sovereign; nobility.
a compensation or portion of the proceeds paid to the owner of a right, as a patent or oil or mineral right, for the use of it.
an agreed portion of the income from a work paid to its author, composer, etc., usually a percentage of the retail price of each copy sold.
a royal right, as over minerals, granted by a sovereign to a person or corporation.
the payment made for such a right.
1350-1400; Middle English roialte < Old French. See royal, -ty2
Related forms
nonroyalty, noun, plural nonroyalties.
preroyalty, noun, plural preroyalties. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for royalties
  • Prodigious as were his royalties, his mode of life consumed them ruthlessly.
  • Although translators of long-dead authors do not have to share royalties, the arithmetic was unpleasant.
  • There will also be changes to the way that royalties are charged.
  • These are cheap, and production royalties will be low.
  • Several farmers have become millionaires from leases and royalties.
  • It copies, reverse-engineers and acquires technology or pays trivial sums in royalties for highly valuable know-how.
  • Until now, oil firms have bid for concessions under which they pay taxes and royalties but keep the oil they produce.
  • The government is now on the verge of reaping more raw material royalties.
  • We also interviewed performing rights organizations that distribute existing royalties.
  • But often the industry is allowed to claim royalties as foreign taxes, which are deductible.
British Dictionary definitions for royalties


noun (pl) -ties
the rank, power, or position of a king or queen
  1. royal persons collectively
  2. one who belongs to the royal family
any quality characteristic of a monarch; kingliness or regal dignity
a percentage of the revenue from the sale of a book, performance of a theatrical work, use of a patented invention or of land, etc, paid to the author, inventor, or proprietor
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for royalties



c.1400, "office or position of a sovereign," also "magnificence," from or modeled on Old French roialte (12c., Modern French royauté), from Vulgar Latin *regalitatem (nominative *regalitas), from Latin regalis (see royal). Sense of "prerogatives or rights granted by a sovereign to an individual or corporation" is from late 15c. From that evolved more general senses, such as "payment to a landowner for use of a mine" (1839), and ultimately "payment to an author, composer, etc." for sale or use of his or her work (1857). Cf. realty.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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royalties in Culture

royalty definition

A payment made for some right or privilege, as when a publisher pays a royalty to an author for the author's granting the publisher the right to sell the author's book.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for royalties


in law, the payment made to the owners of certain types of rights by those who are permitted by the owners to exercise the rights. The rights concerned are literary, musical, and artistic copyright; patent rights in inventions and designs; and rights in mineral deposits, including oil and natural gas. The term originated from the fact that in Great Britain for centuries gold and silver mines were the property of the crown; such "royal" metals could be mined only if a payment ("royalty") were made to the crown

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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