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plenipotentiary

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adjective plen·i·po·ten·tia·ry \ˌple-nə-pə-ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)rē, -shē-ˌer-ē\

Definition of plenipotentiary

  1. 1 :  invested with full power

  2. 2 :  of or relating to a plenipotentiary

Did You Know?

The adjective plenipotentiary is typically used, as in our second example, after the noun it modifies in the ranking of diplomatic hierarchy. Plenipotentiary gets its power from its Latin roots: plenus, meaning "full," and potens, "powerful." When government leaders dispatch their ambassador plenipotentiary, minister plenipotentiary, or envoy plenipotentiary, they are not just sending an agent to deal with foreign affairs but one having full power to act on the behalf of his or her country and government. The word extraordinary is also found in titles of government representatives-sometimes in combination with plenipotentiary (as in "Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary")-to denote an agent assigned to a particular (or extraordinary) diplomatic mission. Both the adjective and the noun plenipotentiary (meaning "a person invested with full power to transact business") appeared in the mid-17th century.

Origin and Etymology of plenipotentiary

Medieval Latin plenipotentiarius, adjective & noun, from Late Latin plenipotent-, plenipotens


First Known Use: circa 1645


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plenipotentiary

noun plen·i·po·ten·tia·ry

Definition of plenipotentiary

plural

plenipotentiaries

  1. :  a person and especially a diplomatic agent invested with full power to transact business

Circa 1656

First Known Use of plenipotentiary

circa 1656


PLENIPOTENTIARY Defined for English Language Learners


2

plenipotentiary

noun plen·i·po·ten·tia·ry

Definition of plenipotentiary for English Language Learners

  • : a person (such as a diplomat) who has complete power to do business for a government


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