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a. a state or sovereign exercising some degree of dominion over a dependent state, usually controlling its foreign affairs
b. (as modifier): a suzerain power
a. a feudal overlord
b. (as modifier): suzerain lord
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in medieval Western Europe, a superior feudal lord, or seigneur, of a territory (for example, a king, duke, or prince) who is sovereign over the vassals in his domain (seeVASSALAGE). The authority of a suzerain derives from his power to grant fiefs to vassals.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
We find monuments on borders in unsettled territory used only to advertise the extent of a suzerain's conquests.
On return home after nearly five years of 'wanderings' in Mongolia and north western China he found his capital invested by his Chinese suzerains (February 1910).
Later, the Mamluks were even more active in their role as suzerains of Cyprus.
"For a long time, the Dutch had treated with and assisted the Ashanti's previous suzerains, the Denkyiras.
The Soviet Union has disappeared, but threats to peace by rogue states or nations that seek to become suzerains or regional hegemons still exist."
Nguyen attempts to bargain with the French or to treat them like Chinese suzerains are fascinating.
Until the 1960s historians were often inclined to explain `courtly love' in terms of various `ideals of womankind'; men encountered women as feudal suzerains while their men were away on crusade, one argument ran, or as rare creatures in households mostly peopled by young, landless knights.[33] Most modern scholars, such as Simon Gaunt, express themselves quite differently:
In their relations with the centre, strongmen such as the Ando, based at Tosaminato on the Tsugaru peninsula in northernmost Honshu, represented themselves as suzerains of the Ezo.
resolutions acknowledging Palestinian claims should end with this pathetic fellow shouting thank you to his suzerains.
For me, that is the preoccupation of the new PDP leadership in a frantic bid to ingratiate itself with the aspirants from the southwest zone whose individualities have been denigrated by the gambits, politicking and pecuniary intimidation which bore the imprimatur of their Excellencies, the suzerains, yes, 'executive governors' in the eleven states controlled by the party.
The raja seemed inclined to bond with the Company in order to get rid of his Karangasem suzerains, but was never able to carry this out.
From east to west, Enlil permitted him no rival; under him the lands rested contentedly, the people made merry, and the suzerains of Sumer and rulers of other lands conceded sovereignty to him at Uruk.