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[suhl-tn] /ˈsʌl tn/
the sovereign of an Islamic country.
(often initial capital letter) any of the former sovereigns of Turkey.
any absolute ruler or despot.
Origin of sultan
1545-55; < Middle French < Turkish < Arabic sulṭān sovereign
Related forms
[suhl-tan-ik] /sʌlˈtæn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
sultanlike, adjective
sultanship, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sultan
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was much difference of opinion at the Court of the sultan whether the action of Austria should be treated as a casus belli.

  • sultan snuffs with his thin nostrils, and paces with proud grace.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • Four years later circumstances rendered an embassy to the sultan of Egypt imperative.

    De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) Trans. by Francis Augustus MacNutt
  • I am afraid to go back to the sultan, for he will command his servants to turn me from the door.

  • The sultan spoke: “Open the chests;” and they, which before no violence could force, now sprang open of their own accord.

    The Oriental Story Book Wilhelm Hauff
British Dictionary definitions for sultan


the sovereign of a Muslim country, esp of the former Ottoman Empire
an arbitrary ruler; despot
a small domestic fowl with a white crest and heavily feathered legs and feet: originated in Turkey
Derived Forms
sultanic (sʌlˈtænɪk) adjective
sultan-like, adjective
sultanship, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin sultānus, from Arabic sultān rule, from Aramaic salita to rule
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 sultan

1550s, from Middle French sultan "ruler of Turkey" (16c.), from Arabic sultan "ruler, king, queen, power, dominion," from Aramaic shultana "power," from shelet "have power." His wife, mother, daughter, concubine, or sister is a sultana.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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