suzerain

When one country controls most of another country's affairs while still allowing it some autonomy, the dominant country is called a suzerain.

In modern world affairs, suzerains are unusual, but history includes a number of them. For example, the Ottoman Empire was the suzerain in its relationships with Moldova, the principality of Serbia, and Wallachia, and for years China was a suzerain to Mongolia.

Definitions of suzerain
  1. noun
    a state exercising a degree of dominion over a dependent state especially in its foreign affairs
    see moresee less
    type of:
    body politic, commonwealth, country, land, nation, res publica, state
    a politically organized body of people under a single government
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week