Definition of viscount in US English:



  • A British nobleman ranking above a baron and below an earl.

    • ‘The earls and viscounts had claimed their expulsion would amount to a severance from the English past.’
    • ‘On Aspinall's books were five dukes, eight viscounts and 17 earls.’
    • ‘Edward, tell Freddie how nice it would be to be a viscount.’
    • ‘We deduced from their dusty condition, that this particular croquet set hadn't been used since the old viscount's time, and, as we had just done the lawn that day, it was natural that we would put the set to use.’
    • ‘The floor was draped in protective white sheeting, and the viscount's wife stood in the middle of it proudly, paint-brush dripping on her bare feet.’
    • ‘He was made a viscount in 1946, and was Governor-General of Canada until 1952, when he became Churchill's Minister of Defence.’
    • ‘Immediately, her eyes sought out the handsome viscount.’
    • ‘The territorial power of the English magnates (the barons, viscounts, earls, marquesses, and dukes in ascending order of status) was crucial to the peace of the realm and the success of royal government.’
    • ‘Attendants of an earl, viscount or baron wore six rows of curls on state wigs and five on house wigs.’
    • ‘Beatrix and her brother Frank, now the fifth viscount, are ardent Jacobites, and Esmond becomes involved with them in a plot to restore James Edward Stuart, the old pretender, to the throne on the death of Queen Anne.’
    • ‘The wives of a king, prince, duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron are queen, princess, duchess, marchioness, countess, viscountess and baroness respectively.’
    • ‘Substantial alterations were carried out by the fourth viscount, who had the front of the house partly stuccoed and the staircase lined with mirrors in imitation of Versailles.’
    • ‘Never again in Britain will someone have the right to make laws which affect the lives of ordinary families solely because their ancestor was a duke, an earl or a viscount.’
    • ‘Thanks to the major and minor arcana of good behaviour set out in the book, I am at no loss as to the correct order of precedence as to whether a marchioness or a viscount should be led into dinner first.’
    • ‘Both field marshals were later made viscounts.’
    • ‘The new viscount, John's cousin, had once been a close friend of Julia's.’
    • ‘Nicknamed ‘Bully’ Bolingbroke, the viscount was a famous figure in the world of breeding and racing, both as an owner and as a reckless gambler.’
    • ‘The viscount's concerns are shared by many in the city of Glasgow, particularly the city council, which took the unprecedented step some four decades ago of taking ownership of the building to ensure its survival.’
    • ‘There will also be an evening of Poetry, Prose and Music for a Summer Evening in the picturesque gardens of Burnt Norton House at the kind invitation of the viscount and viscountess Sandon.’
    • ‘‘In my time, I've known dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and other members of Britain's House of Lords and none of them had the contempt for the masses one routinely hears from America's coastal elites.’’
    noble, nobleman, peer, aristocrat, patrician, grandee
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Late Middle English: from Old French visconte, from medieval Latin vicecomes, vicecomit- (see vice-, count).