Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Control or the exercise of control; sovereignty: "The devil . . . has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion” ( Jonathan Edwards).
  • n. A territory or sphere of influence or control; a realm.
  • n. One of the self-governing nations within the British Commonwealth.
  • n. Christianity See domination.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. power or the use of power; sovereignty over something.
  • n. a kingdom, nation, or other sphere of influence.
  • n. One of the colonies of the British Empire given self-government through the Statute of Westminster, such as Canada or Newfoundland.
  • n. An order of angel in Christian angelology, ranked above angels and below thrones.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling; independent right of possession, use, and control; sovereignty; supremacy.
  • n. Superior prominence; predominance; ascendency.
  • n. That which is governed; territory over which authority is exercised; the tract, district, or county, considered as subject. Also used figuratively.
  • n. A supposed high order of angels; dominations. See Domination, 3.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Lordship; sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling; empire: as, a territory under the dominion of a foreign power.
  • n. The right of uncontrolled possession, use, and disposal; power of control.
  • n. A territory and people subject to a specific government or control; a domain: as, the dominions of Prussia.
  • n. plural Same as dominations. See domination, 3.
  • n. Synonyms Sovereignty, sway, control, rule, mastery, ascendancy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a region marked off for administrative or other purposes
  • n. one of the self-governing nations in the British Commonwealth
  • n. dominance or power through legal authority

Etymologies

Middle English dominioun, from Old French dominion, from Medieval Latin dominiō, dominiōn-, from Latin dominium, property, from dominus, lord; see dem- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English dominion, from Middle French dominion, from Medieval Latin dominio, equiv. to Latin dominium ("lordship, right of ownership"), from dominus ("lord"), from domus ("house"). See domain, demain, demesne. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • From your description, this word seems to be commonly understood as interchangeable with domination, which is unfortunate, and erroneous.

    Genesis Ch 1 26:" And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (KJV)

    Perhaps if we understood dominion to be different to domination, namely as incorporating wisdom, responsibility, balance, justice, lovingkindness etc., the state of our world might be far healthier!

    May 30, 2009

  • "At the height of the Roman Empire, the Romans had an estimated 37 major military bases scattered around their dominions. At the height of the British Empire, the British had 36 of them planetwide. Depending on just who you listen to and how you count, we have hundreds of bases. According to Pentagon records, in fact, there are 761 active military 'sites' abroad."
    - Tom Engelhardt, 'Going on an Imperial Bender', 4 Sep 2008.

    September 5, 2008

  • Spot on, SoG. That's precisely what comes to mind every time I hear this word.

    June 24, 2008

  • Yeah, nice tag too!

    October 30, 2007

  • Nice, SoG. Thanks for posting that.

    October 30, 2007

  • And death shall have no dominion.
    Dead men naked they shall be one
    With the man in the wind and the west moon;
    When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
    They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
    Though they go mad they shall be sane,
    Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
    Though lovers be lost love shall not;
    And death shall have no dominion.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    Under the windings of the sea
    They lying long shall not die windily;
    Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
    Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
    Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
    And the unicorn evils run them through;
    Split all ends up they shan't crack;
    And death shall have no dominion.

    And death shall have no dominion.
    No more may gulls cry at their ears
    Or waves break loud on the seashores;
    Where blew a flower may a flower no more
    Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
    Though they be mad and dead as nails,
    Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
    Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
    And death shall have no dominion.

    -- Dylan Thomas

    October 30, 2007