An empire is a group of countries or territories that are under the control of a single entity but it can be used figuratively too. She rules her cosmetics empire well, with a solid knowledge of lipsticks, eye shadows, and more.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The sun never sets on the British Empire?” This came about because during the 1800s countries in every time zone around the globe were ruled by England, and it was always daytime in one of them. Although other empires have existed back through time to the original Roman Empire, perhaps the most well-known empire today comes from the popular Star Wars films in which the rebels fight Darth Vader and his evil Empire.

Definitions of empire

n the domain ruled by an emperor or empress; the region over which imperial dominion is exercised

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Roman Empire
an empire established by Augustus in 27 BC and divided in AD 395 into the Western Roman Empire and the eastern or Byzantine Empire; at its peak lands in Europe and Africa and Asia were ruled by ancient Rome
Egyptian Empire
an ancient empire to the west of Israel; centered on the Nile River and ruled by a Pharaoh; figured in many events described in the Old Testament
Persian Empire
an empire in southern Asia created by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC and destroyed by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC
a former empire in eastern Europe and northern Asia created in the 14th century with Moscow as the capital; powerful in the 17th and 18th centuries under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great when Saint Petersburg was the capital; overthrown by revolution in 1917
Ottoman Empire
a Turkish sultanate of southwestern Asia and northeastern Africa and southeastern Europe; created by the Ottoman Turks in the 13th century and lasted until the end of World War I; although initially small it expanded until it superseded the Byzantine Empire
Type of:
demesne, domain, land
territory over which rule or control is exercised

n a monarchy with an emperor as head of state

Mogul empire
an empire established by the Mogul conquerors of India that reigned from 1526 to 1857
Second Empire
the imperial government of Napoleon III in France from 1852-1870
Type of:
an autocracy governed by a monarch who usually inherits the authority

n a group of countries under a single authority

“the British created a great empire
Type of:
authorities, government, regime
the organization that is the governing authority of a political unit

n a group of diverse companies under common ownership and run as a single organization

publishing conglomerate, publishing empire
a conglomerate of publishing companies
Type of:
corp, corporation
a business firm whose articles of incorporation have been approved in some state