In ancient Rome, a palatine was a powerful authority figure. Through the 17th century, European palatines were nobles who inherited land and ruled over it separately from the greater kingdom.
This word stems from the Medieval Latin palatinus, "of the palace," and in the ancient Roman world, someone working in a prince's palace was described as comes palatinus, or "possessing royal privileges." Through history, being a palatine meant having an enormous amount of power over a specific territory. Today the word is also used as an adjective meaning "connected to the palate of the mouth."