Sorsele Municipality covers an area of 8,012 km2. It is the eleventh largest municipality by size, but has the second smallest population.
The municipality has not been affected by the two local government reforms of the 20th century, but has had its large size since the municipal system was implemented in 1863.
The name appears to stem from the Sami word sourge, which means branch, and sel, which is of Swedish origin and refers to a kind of stream. This refers to the protected Vindel River (Swedish: Vindelälven), which flows through the town and municipality of Sorsele.