Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Diplomat Definition:

An official representative of a state, present in another state for the purposes of general representation of the state-of-origin or for the purpose of specific international negotiations on behalf of the diplomat's state-of-origin.

Related Terms: Ambassador, Persona Non Grata, Diplomatic Immunity, Diplomacy

Also known as diplomatic agents.

Derived from the Greek word diplomata ("folding documents).

Diplomats benefit from diplomatic immunity.

Rapalje and Lawrence defer to the term diplomatic agent and defined as follows:

"A general term including ambassadors, ministers, legates, nuncios, envoys, chargé d'affaires and other public officers commissioned to superintend and transact the affairs of the government employing them, in a foreign country."

The Encyclopedia of American Law proposes this definition:

"Government representatives who are sent by one country to live and work in another, to serve as intermediaries between the two countries....

"(T)heir duties include cultivating a relationship between their native country and their host country; serving as intermediaries by relaying each country's positions to the other; and trying to ensure the best possible treatment for their home countries."


  • Bernhardt, Rudolf, Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1992), pages 1032-1040
  • Lehman, J. and Phelps, S., editors, West Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd Ed. (Farmington Hills: Thomson Gale, 2005), volume 3, page 428-429
  • Rapalje, Stewart and Lawrence, Robert, A Dictionary of American and English Law, Volume I (Jersey City: Frederick D. Linn & Co. Law Publishers and Booksellers, 1883), page 389.

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