One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Roman Catholic Church. A papal envoy to a foreign court or government, ranking below a nuncio.
2A messenger or intermediary; a go-between.
3A diplomatic representative of a foreign government at the court of the Ottoman sultan, especially (in later use) a representative of the Austrian Empire. Now historical.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in John Howson (?1557–1632), bishop of Durham. From Italian internunzio, † internuntio messenger, intermediary, papal envoy ranking below a nuncio from classical Latin internuntius.
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