1. A ruler of a Muslim country, especially of the former Ottoman Empire.
2. A powerful person: a sultan of vice and corruption.
[French, from Old French, ruler of Turkey, from Turkish, from Arabic sulṭān, from Aramaic šulṭānā, ruler, from šəlaṭ, to rule; see šlṭ in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.