plenipotentiary

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

First attested in 1645. From medieval Latin plenipotentiarius, from plenipotentia 'full powers', from plenipotens, from plēnus ‎(full) + potentia ‎(power).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌplɛn.ɪ.pəʊˈtɛn.ʃər.i/, /ˌplɛn.ɪ.pəʊˈtɛn.ʃi.ər.i/
  • (US) IPA(key): /plɛn.ɪ.poʊˈtɛn.ʃər.i/, /plɛn.ɪ.poʊˈtɛn.ʃi.ər.i/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

plenipotentiary ‎(plural plenipotentiaries)

  1. A person invested with full power, especially as the diplomatic agent of a sovereign state, (originally) charged with handling a certain matter
    • 1937, P. G. Wodehouse, 'Lord Emsworth and Others', Overlook, Woodstock: 2002, p 232.
      Meeting him in the street and ignoring the foul bowler hat he wore on his walks abroad, you would have put him down as a Bishop in mufti or, at the least, a plenipotentiary at one of the better courts.
    • 1985, Anthony Burgess, Kingdom of the Wicked
      Two of them are hanging up there on Golgotha, and that ought to be enough to show the authority of Rome’s ah plenipotentiary.

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Adjective[edit]

plenipotentiary ‎(not comparable)

  1. Invested with full power.
  2. Of or relating to a plenipotentiary agent

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