interregnum

noun in·ter·reg·num \ ˌin-tə-ˈreg-nəm \
Updated on: 7 Nov 2017

Definition of interregnum

plural interregnums or interregna play \ˌin-tə-ˈreg-nə\
1 : the time during which a throne is vacant between two successive reigns or regimes
2 : a period during which the normal functions of government or control are suspended
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

Recent Examples of interregnum from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'interregnum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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


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