Definition of viceroy in English:



  • A ruler exercising authority in a colony on behalf of a sovereign.

    • ‘The British named most of them after British kings and queens and viceroys.’
    • ‘Bosnia Herzegovina, for example, while it has a seat at the United Nations, is also administered by an international viceroy, Lord Paddy Ashdown.’
    • ‘These viceroys have in fact twice in the last century exercised their vice-regal powers to dismiss elected governments!’
    • ‘Of course, that's not the same as invading a country, but you get the idea: a viceroy / administrator tries to handle a fiercely resentful community.’
    • ‘The overriding authority, the viceroy, whatever you wish to call him, actually has a considerable control and power, but they must be clear and honest with the local population.’
    • ‘Central government remained under the control of the viceroy's Executive Council, but in the provinces a measure of self-government was conceded through the system known as dyarchy.’
    • ‘The U.N.-paid and U.N.-sanctioned rulers of both Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina exercise powers akin to erstwhile British viceroys.’
    • ‘The collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War I and the dissolution of the British Raj three decades later replaced sultans with presidents and viceroys with prime ministers.’
    • ‘Having installed various Indian statesmen, religious figures and public benefactors in place of sundry British sovereigns, viceroys and generals, we have cheerfully proceeded to forget them.’
    • ‘Like the proconsuls of ancient Rome, the viceroy governed, administered, judged, superintended the royal treasury, was commander in chief of the army, and the vice patron of the church.’
    administrator, ruler, chief, leader, principal, head
    View synonyms


Early 16th century: from archaic French, from vice- ‘in place of’ + roi ‘king’.