Definition of diplomatic in English:



  • 1Of or concerning the profession, activity, or skill of managing international relations.

    ‘diplomatic relations between the United States and Britain’
    • ‘He said the opening of a new diplomatic mission in Brazil will offer opportunities to the Namibian business sector.’
    • ‘Reversing the policy adopted by previous administrations since 1917, the administration also granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union.’
    • ‘The nuclear issue is Japan's most pressing diplomatic concern at the moment.’
    • ‘France has supported more diplomatic efforts be made to persuade Iraq to allow the return of weapons inspectors.’
    • ‘Henceforth UK interests were to be the concern of a British diplomatic agent styled the British High Commissioner.’
    • ‘Robson said discussions would take place about the form that diplomatic relations with Afghanistan would take.’
    • ‘He caused a diplomatic incident by renaming the dog Dougal; the French deemed this a slur on Charles de Gaulle.’
    • ‘The war induced the opening of New Zealand's first diplomatic relations with foreign powers.’
    • ‘It will also enhance foreign trade and diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.’
    • ‘When Jefferson went on his first diplomatic mission, he bought very expensive china.’
    • ‘A legislator disclosed to reporters recent attempts to seek new diplomatic allies - an issue normally deemed top secret.’
    • ‘We should have and we need today to apply more diplomatic effort to resolving that issue.’
    • ‘Mercifully, this disgraceful insult to a proud nation was removed before it had a chance to cause a diplomatic incident.’
    • ‘The attack came as new diplomatic initiative was being launched in New York.’
    • ‘Hastings made the traditional post-match speech in French which almost caused a diplomatic incident.’
    • ‘Their voyage will face flotillas of furious protesters and risk not only a major diplomatic incident but the threat of terrorism.’
    • ‘Iran agreed to resume full diplomatic ties with its former enemy Iraq.’
    • ‘The incident sparked a bitter diplomatic row between Tokyo and Beijing.’
    • ‘In a reciprocal gesture, Pakistan agreed to restore full diplomatic ties with nuclear neighbor India.’
    ambassadorial, consular, foreign-policy, political
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    1. 1.1Having or showing an ability to deal with people in a sensitive and effective way.
      ‘that was a very diplomatic way of putting it’
      • ‘He should solve his problems in a more diplomatic fashion though, he had me riled up.’
      • ‘The most thoughtful and diplomatic of us would concede these points of contention.’
      • ‘I am diplomatic in my ways and would never dream of causing offence.’
      • ‘His admission that he was ‘disappointed’ was a diplomatic understatement.’
      • ‘You're being very diplomatic, but I'm wondering if you aren't also disappointed.’
      • ‘Be a catalyst for change by letting your actions and voices be heard in a diplomatic and tactful manner.’
      • ‘Last year's winner Rich Hall was diplomatic about the nature of the prize.’
      • ‘He'd have to be very diplomatic on the Iranian front.’
      • ‘You can be diplomatic, politic or polite or you can be blunt and honest.’
      • ‘In his dealings with Cabinet colleagues he was diplomatic and careful not to alienate.’
      • ‘His diplomatic approach and concern for the staff ensured a smooth changeover.’
      • ‘While Currie is extremely polite and diplomatic, it is clear he finds these frustrating and unhelpful.’
      • ‘He showed his diplomatic skills there, because there is a good deal that can be criticized here.’
      • ‘O'Neill is intense and energetic yet, having briefly trained as a legal student, is almost always subtle and diplomatic.’
      • ‘With O'Neill, though, there is no need for diplomatic rhetoric about the club having been turned around.’
      • ‘Still, dealing with a complex issue such as this one requires a great deal of diplomatic finesse.’
      • ‘Your review, though diplomatic, is completely off the mark - this film is an epic time waster.’
      • ‘You are subtle and diplomatic while resolving conflicts and clashes today.’
      • ‘Again, the diplomatic Campbell can see, and understand, both sides of the criticism.’
      • ‘So it would appear that from now on I am going to have to be more tactful and diplomatic in my meanderings.’
      tactful, sensitive, subtle, delicate, discreet
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  • 2(of an edition or copy) exactly reproducing an original version.

    ‘a diplomatic transcription’
    • ‘Those seeking a true diplomatic edition/transcription should consult the facsimile editions by Zupitza and by Kiernan et al.’
    • ‘All Herbert scholars will welcome Mario Di Cesare's stunning diplomatic edition of the Bodleian Manuscript.’


Early 18th century (in the sense relating to official documents): from modern Latin diplomaticus and French diplomatique, from Latin diploma (see diploma). diplomatic (late 18th century) is probably due to the publication of the Codex Juris Gentium Diplomaticus (1695), a collection of public documents, many of which dealt with international affairs.