interregnum

play
noun in·ter·reg·num \ˌin-tə-ˈreg-nəm\

Definition of interregnum

plural

interregnums

or

interregna

play \-nə\
  1. 1 :  the time during which a throne is vacant between two successive reigns or regimes

  2. 2 :  a period during which the normal functions of government or control are suspended

  3. 3 :  a lapse or pause in a continuous series

Examples of interregnum in a sentence

  1. <the democratic regime proved to be a short-lived interregnum between dictatorships>

Did You Know?

Every time a pope dies, there's an interregnum period before a new one is elected by the cardinals. In most democratic systems, however, the law specifies who should take office when a president or prime minister dies unexpectedly, and since the power usually passes automatically, there's no true interregnum. The question of succession—that is, of who should take over when a country's leader dies—has often presented huge problems for countries that lacked a constitution, and in monarchies it hasn't always been clear who should become king or queen when a monarch dies. The interregnum following the death of Edward VI in 1553, for instance, was briefly suspended when Lady Jane Grey was installed as Queen; nine days later she was replaced by Mary Tudor, who sent her straight to the Tower of London.

Origin and Etymology of interregnum

Latin, from inter- + regnum reign — more at reign


First Known Use: 1590


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