One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any of the later Merovingian kings, who increasingly played a ceremonial role with only nominal political power.
2Any king, ruler, or leader who has only nominal power.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in John Richardson (?1741–1795), orientalist. From French roi fainéant, lit. ‘sluggard king’ from roi + fainéant idler, sluggard.
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