Sovereignty

The frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, depicting the Sovereign as a massive body wielding a sword and crosier and composed of many individual people

Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.[1] In international law, the important concept of sovereignty refers to the exercise of power by a state. De jure sovereignty refers to the legal right to do so; de facto sovereignty the ability in fact to do so (which becomes of special concern upon the failure of the usual expectation that de jure and de facto sovereignty exist at the place and time of concern, and rest in the same organization).

One can also refer to a monarch who reigns over a sovereign realm as a sovereign.

Etymology

The term arises from the unattested Vulgar Latin's *superanus, (itself derived form of Latin super - "over") meaning "chief", "ruler".[2] Its spelling, which varied from the word's first appearance in English in the fourteenth century, was influenced by the English "reign".[3][4]