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Reich (pronounced /ˈraɪk/; German: [ˈʁaɪç]  ( listen)) is a German word cognate with the English rich, but used most often to designate an empire, realm, or nation. The qualitative connotation from the German is "(imperial,) sovereign state." It is also cognate with the Latin word regnum (kingdom) and the Scandinavian rike/rige, Dutch: rijk, Sanskrit: raj, English: -ric; as found in bishopric. It is the word traditionally used for a variety of sovereign entities, including Germany in many periods of its history. It is also found in the compound Königreich, "kingdom" (in the sense of "area or people ruled by a king", while "kingdom" in the sense of "kingship" would be translated as "Königtum"), and in the country names Frankreich (France, the "Realm of the Franks"), Österreich (Austria, the "Eastern Realm"), Sverige (Sweden, the "Realm of the Swedes") and in England as Surrey - Suthrige, 'southern realm'. The German version of the Lord's Prayer uses the words Dein Reich komme for "ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου" (usually translated as "thy kingdom come" in English), and the Lord's Prayer in Scandinavian also uses the cognate word; so it is in Old English - 'Tobecyme thin rice'.

Like its Latin counterpart, imperium, Reich does not necessarily connote a monarchy; the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany continued to use the name Deutsches Reich, while both were at least de jure republican in structure.

Used adjectivally, reich is the German word for "rich" or "plenty".


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