Definition of envoy in English:



  • 1A messenger or representative, especially one on a diplomatic mission.

    ‘the UN special envoy to Yugoslavia’
    ‘a peace envoy’
    • ‘King Narai dispatched his second diplomatic mission consisting of three envoys to the court of Louis XIV of France in January 1684.’
    • ‘In Ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh's messengers and diplomatic envoys carried with them the seal of the Pharaoh, production of which guaranteed the carrier free and unhindered passage throughout the region.’
    • ‘Such missions and envoys operate in many areas of the world as well as in the post-Soviet space.’
    • ‘Another shows six slaves and the other two show rows of courtiers and visiting envoys, including representatives of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire, Sind and Arabia.’
    • ‘Notably, the document signaled that the new administration would eschew the use of special diplomatic envoys.’
    • ‘An alternative opposition government must include an opposition Cabinet, envoys and ambassadors in every sphere of diplomatic activity and relations and an alternative budget.’
    • ‘There would be a lot more if he had not given the strong impression that he has already made up his mind on the basic issues, and that his envoys ' missions are more about salesmanship than exchanging views.’
    • ‘Consequently, in 1564 Elizabeth agreed to open discussions with the Austrians and soon afterwards she authorised envoys and councillors to negotiate a matrimonial treaty.’
    • ‘Cultural ambassadors act as envoys for what's best in America.’
    • ‘William III, after 1688, had twelve resident ambassadors as well as envoys and agents.’
    • ‘Diplomatic immunity dates from antiquity when the Greek Government extended special status to foreign envoys.’
    • ‘Most efforts to cut deals go through the drivers' spotters, who then act like diplomatic envoys, clustered together high atop the stands.’
    • ‘It is hard to think of people more demure in rhetorical comportment than senior envoys of the United Nations or of the British foreign office.’
    • ‘But his rise to power will not be the only remarkable event of his career, for he has called upon the Federation to send an envoy to begin negotiating a peace between the two powers.’
    • ‘Prior to the amendment, the president had the prerogative to appoint ambassadors or accept foreign envoys.’
    • ‘Such people, he deduced, were not socialists at all but ruthless envoys of a ‘mean state capitalism with the grab motive left intact’.’
    • ‘It is also forbidden to harm the wounded and sick; medical or religious personnel; envoys bearing flags of truce; and, of late, even journalists.’
    • ‘‘She was held for about six weeks without charge,’ the envoy told Wednesday's Evening Standard newspaper.’
    representative, delegate, deputy, agent, intermediary, mediator, negotiator, proxy, surrogate, liaison, broker, accredited messenger, courier, spokesperson, spokesman, spokeswoman, mouthpiece, stand-in
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  • 2A minister plenipotentiary, ranking below ambassador and above chargé d'affaires.

    • ‘The 19-nation alliance failed to break the deadlock in two highly charged meetings of its envoys, exposing rifts across the Atlantic, within Europe and even inside the German Government.’
    • ‘During the time he spent in Afghanistan, the Bulgarian envoy met 10 ministers from the interim Afghan government and had the same number of meetings on the deputy ministerial level.’
    • ‘The counsel therefore by President Mwanawasa on the need for envoys to be above board and avoid being caught up in a web of scandals is valid and should be paid heed to.’
    ambassador, emissary, diplomat, legate, consul, attaché, chargé d'affaires, plenipotentiary
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Mid 17th century: from French envoyé, past participle of envoyer send, from en voie on the way, based on Latin via way.