Definition of ambassador
From Latin ambactus (servant).
- (WEAE) IPA: /æmˈbæs.ə.dɚ/ or /-ˌdɔɹ/
- A minister of the highest rank sent to a foreign court to represent there his sovereign or country.
Note: Ambassadors are either ordinary [or resident] or extraordinary, that is, sent upon some special or unusual occasion or errand. --Abbott.
- An official messenger and representative.
- (obsolete, slang) A trick to duck some ignorant fellow or landsman, frequently played on board ships in the warm latitudes. It is thus managed: A large tub is filled with water, and two stools placed on each side of it. Over the whole is thrown a tarpaulin, or old sail: this is kept tight by two persons, who are to represent the king and queen of a foreign country, and are seated on the stools. The person intended to be ducked plays the Ambassador, and after repeating a ridiculous speech dictated to him, is led in great form up to the throne, and seated between the king and queen, who rising suddenly as soon as he is seated, he falls backwards into the tub of water. (1811 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue)
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents their country. They are usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization, to serve as the official representative of their country.
Sometimes countries also appoint highly respected individuals as Ambassador at Large who are assigned specific responsibilities and they work to advise and assist their governments in a given area. The word is also often used more liberally for persons who are known, without national appointment, to represent certain professions, activities and fields of endeavor.
In everyday usage it usually applies to the ranking government representative stationed in a foreign capital. The host country typically allows the ambassador control of specific territory called an embassy, whose territory, staff, and even vehicles are generally afforded diplomatic immunity in the host country.
The senior diplomatic officers among members of the Commonwealth of Nations are known as High Commissioners, who are the heads of High Commissions. Representatives of the Holy See are known as Papal or Apostolic Nuncios (Smith,112).
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.