Is there an English word for non-monarchic empire, similar to German word "Reich"?

I have considered the following:

  • Realm - seems too small for an empire

  • Domain - again seems too small

  • Power - could be any state, also easy to confuse with other meanings

A stronger equivalent to "domain" would be great.

  • 2
    “Empire” might be suitable, as in the colonial empires of several European countries in the 19th and 20th century, which weren't necessarily monarchies (at least France wasn't one). What's the context? Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 22:15
  • I personally do not think "realm" is too small but I do not speak German.
    – Jake
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 3:40

2 Answers 2


Empire is often used in English to refer to something that's controlled by an authority other than a monarchy.

For example, it's very common to talk of the "American empire", referring to the USA's (direct and indirect) control of various territories beyond its borders.

We also talk about things like a "criminal empire", meaning the criminal activities controlled by a certain person or maybe a small group of people. We also use empire to refer to a company's dominance of its market; for example we could talk about an "auto parts empire" or a "ketchup empire".


I would answer this question by providing my translation of the German "Reich." Which happens to be "Commonwealth."

  • 1
    I don't think many English speakers actually know what the term Commonwealth means...to me it's just an archaic word that happens to be used for the official name of Massachusetts and for the collection of certain former British colonies.
    – The Photon
    Commented Aug 9, 2013 at 16:55
  • The word Commonwealth is in everyday use and not at all archaic. Commonwealth is part of the official name of Australia, which was indeed formed from a collection of colonies. australia.gov.au/about-australia/our-government. The Commonwealth is also a political association of some 53 countries, mostly but not exclusively former members of the British Empire thecommonwealth.org/member-countries. This year in Glasgow will be the XXth Commonwealth Games glasgow2014.com.
    – toandfro
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 23:01

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