suzerain

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suzerain

1. 
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
2. 
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Suzerain

 

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.