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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Empire \Em"pire\, n. [F., fr. L. imperium a command, sovereignty, dominion, empire, fr. imperare. See Emperor; cf. Imperial.] 1. Supreme power; sovereignty; sway; dominion. "The empire of the sea." --Shak. [1913 Webster] Over hell extend His empire, and with iron scepter rule. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. The dominion of an emperor; the territory or countries under the jurisdiction and dominion of an emperor (rarely of a king), usually of greater extent than a kingdom, always comprising a variety in the nationality of, or the forms of administration in, constituent and subordinate portions; as, the Austrian empire. [1913 Webster] Empire carries with it the idea of a vast and complicated government. --C. J. Smith. [1913 Webster] 3. Any dominion; supreme control; governing influence; rule; sway; as, the empire of mind or of reason. "Under the empire of facts." --M. Arnold. [1913 Webster] Another force which, in the Middle Ages, shared with chivalry the empire over the minds of men. --A. W. Ward. [1913 Webster] Celestial empire. See under Celestial. Empire City, a common designation of the city of New York. Empire State, a common designation of the State of New York. Syn: Sway; dominion; rule; control; reign; sovereignty; government; kingdom; realm; state. [1913 Webster]