[in-ter-reg-nuh m]
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noun, plural in·ter·reg·nums, in·ter·reg·na [in-ter-reg-nuh] /ˌɪn tərˈrɛg nə/.
  1. an interval of time between the close of a sovereign's reign and the accession of his or her normal or legitimate successor.
  2. any period during which a state has no ruler or only a temporary executive.
  3. any period of freedom from the usual authority.
  4. any pause or interruption in continuity.

Origin of interregnum

1570–80; < Latin, equivalent to inter- inter- + rēgnum reign
Related formsin·ter·reg·nal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for interregnum


noun plural -nums or -na (-nə)
  1. an interval between two reigns, governments, incumbencies, etc
  2. any period in which a state lacks a ruler, government, etc
  3. a period of absence of some control, authority, etc
  4. a gap in a continuity
Derived Formsinterregnal, adjective

Word Origin for interregnum

C16: from Latin, from inter- + regnum reign
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for interregnum

1570s, from Latin interregnum, literally "between-reign," from inter- (see inter-) + regnum (see reign). In the republic, a vacancy in the consulate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper