SULTAN (an Arabic word meaning " victorious " or " a ruler," sultat, dominion), a title of honour borne by a great variety of rulers of very varying powers and importance in Mahommedan Africa and the East. The word has thus no exact equivalent in English, and was early imported into the language in the Middle English form of soudan (from old Fr. soudan, souldan). This title is that conventionally applied by foreigners to the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, the sultan par excellence, whose proper styles are, however, padishah (emperor) and " commander of the faithful " (see AMIR). The feminine form " sultana " is derived from the Italian (fern, of sultand).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)