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[prin-suh-pal-i-tee] /ˌprɪn səˈpæl ɪ ti/
noun, plural principalities.
a state ruled by a prince, usually a relatively small state or a state that falls within a larger state such as an empire.
the position or authority of a prince or chief ruler; sovereignty; supreme power.
the rule of a prince of a small or subordinate state.
the Principality, British, Wales.
principalities, Theology.
  1. an order of angels.
    Compare angel (def 1).
  2. supramundane powers often in conflict with God. Ephes. 6:12.
Obsolete, preeminence.
Origin of principality
1300-50; Middle English principalite < Old French < Late Latin prīncipālitās first place, superiority (Medieval Latin: authority or territory of a prince). See principal, -ity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for principality
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This principality was very small, containing about 60,000 inhabitants, but it enjoyed independent and sovereign rights.

    Queen Victoria Lytton Strachey
  • In his life of turmoil and bloodshed he had halted to secure for her the right to a principality.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • The modern form of the word Catti is Hesse, and the principality of Hesse is their old locality.

    The English Language Robert Gordon Latham
  • And so you have come back to find that your principality does not exist.

  • Sutter went to California from Missouri, and acquired a principality in size and value, and was the first settler.

    The Awakening of the Desert Julius C. Birge
  • By the same art he would prognosticate a principality to a scoundrel.

    The History of John Bull John Arbuthnot
British Dictionary definitions for principality


noun (pl) -ties
  1. a territory ruled by a prince
  2. a territory from which a prince draws his title
the dignity or authority of a prince
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: pre-eminence): via Old French from Latin principālisprincipal
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 principality

c.1300, "position of a prince," from Old French principalite "principal matter; power, sovereignty" (12c., Modern French principauté), from Late Latin principalitatem (nominative principalitas), from principalis (see principal (adj.)). Meaning "region or state ruled by a prince" is attested from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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