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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Interregnum \In`ter*reg"num\, n.; pl. Interregnums. [L., fr. inter between + regnum dominion, reign. See Reign, and cf. Interreign.]

  1. The time during which a throne is vacant between the death or abdication of a sovereign and the accession of his successor.

  2. Any period during which, for any cause, the executive branch of a government is suspended or interrupted.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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


n. 1 The period of time between the end of a sovereign's reign and the accession of another sovereign. 2 A period of time during which normal executive leadership is suspended or interrupted. 3 An intermission in any order of succession; any breach of continuity in action or influence.

  1. n. the time between two reigns, governments, etc.

  2. [also: interregna (pl)]


An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin inter-, "between" and rēgnum, "reign" [from rex, rēgis, "king"]), and the concepts of interregnum and regency therefore overlap. Historically, the longer and heavier interregna were typically accompanied by widespread unrest, civil and succession wars between warlords, and power vacuums filled by foreign invasions or the emergence of a new power. A failed state is usually in interregnum.

The term also refers to the periods between the election of a new parliament and the establishment of a new government from that parliament in parliamentary democracies, usually ones that employ some form of proportional representation that allows small parties to elect significant numbers, requiring time for negotiations to form a government. In the UK, Canada and other " first past the post" electoral systems, this period is usually very brief, except in the rare occurrence of a hung parliament as occurred both in the UK and in Australia in 2010. In parliamentary interregnums, the previous government usually stands as a caretaker government until the new government is established.

The term has been applied to the period of time between the election of a new President of the United States and his or her inauguration, during which the outgoing president remains in power, but as a lame duck. In some Christian churches, "interregnum" describes the time between vacancy and appointment of priests or bishops to various roles.

Interregnum (solitaire)

Interregnum is a solitaire card game using two decks of 52 cards each. The object of this game is to build eight foundations of thirteen cards each, regardless of suit. Building the foundations is unusual compared to most foundation-building games.

Interregnum (England)

The Interregnum was the period between the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 and the arrival of his son Charles II in London on 29 May 1660 which marked the start of the Restoration. During the Interregnum England was under various forms of republican government, for which see Commonwealth of England; this article describes other facets of the Interregnum.

Interregnum (disambiguation)

Interregnum may refer to:

  • Interregnum, a period between monarchs, between popes of the Roman Catholic Church, between parish priests of the Church of England, or between consuls of the Roman Republic; a period of discontinuity
    • Interregnum (1649-1660), a period in the history of England, Ireland, and Scotland
    • In competitive games, a period in which there is no recognized champion, as in the Interregnum of World Chess Champions
    • Interregnum (Brust), the period between Adron's Disaster and the empire's reformation, in Steven Brust's Dragaera
    • Interregnum (Foundation Series), the period between the 1st and 2nd Galactic Empires, in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series
    • Interregnum (Heinlein), a period in Robert A. Heinlein's Future History
  • Interregnum (solitaire), a solitaire card game
  • Interregnum (documentary) a documentary about the drawings of George Grosz
  • Interregnum (novel), a fantasy novel
Interregnum (Ireland)

Ireland during the Interregnum (1649–1660) covers the period from the execution of Charles I until the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.

Interregnum (1649–60)

The interregnum of England, Scotland, and Ireland started with the execution of Charles I in January 1649 (September 1651 in Scotland) and was decisively ended in July 1660 when his son Charles II was restored to the thrones of the three realms, although he had been already acclaimed king in Scotland since 1650.

The precise start and end of the interregnum, and the social and political events that occurred during the interregnum varied in the three kingdoms and the English dominions.

Usage examples of "interregnum".

The practice was made possible by a canon which had been enacted for the convenience of foreign, not domestic, cardinals, but the latter took advantage of it during long periods of interregnum.

After the interregnum, both the consuls were elected from the patricians, Marcus Valerius Corvus a third time, and Aulus Cornelius Cossus, so that it would seem that such was the end aimed at.

But these brief interregna were nothing compared to the billions of years of nonbeing between now and the end of the Universe, and the machineries which stored her self and gave her rebirth time and time again were real in a way that the Preservers were not.

The authority had then devolved in the customary way upon the Cardinal Camerlengo, who during the interregnum had sovereign powers.

In consequence of these commotions the senate wanted consuls to be elected rather than tribunes, but owing to the veto of the tribunes a formal resolution could not be carried, and on the expiry of the consuls' year of office an interregnum followed, and even this did not happen without a tremendous struggle, for the tribunes vetoed any meeting of the patricians.

And without any noticeable interregnum of full consciousness, he seemed to pass right on into another kind of dreamthe transition being effected by the contingence upon the point of his jaw of a tearing uppercut that started well below the Saint's waistline and consummated every erg of its weight and velocity at the most vital angle of the victim's face.

Attention was once more turned to affairs of State, and after one or two interregna had expired, P.

And while democracy in Pakistan has been a series of unstable interregnums between military rule, India has been democratic for almost fifty years.

A tongue that evolved on High Kavalaan during the long centuries of interregnum, when the surviving Kavalars had no contact with other human worlds, it was a language that was quickly melting back into standard Terran, though enriching the mother language with words that had no equivalents.

All was arranged in such a way that the future as foreseen by the unalterable mathematics of psycho-history would involve their early isolation from the main body of Imperial civilization and their gradual growth into the germs of the Second Galactic Empire—cutting an inevitable barbarian interregnum from thirty thousand years to scarcely a single thousand.

As the tribunes of the plebs would not allow the senate to pass a decree, and also vetoed the election of consuls, matters passed to an interregnum.