1. A diplomatic officer of the highest rank, usu. designated by a government as its resident repre-sentative in a foreign state. • Ambassadors represent the sovereign as well as the nation and enjoy many privileges while abroad in their official capacity, including immunity. Ambassadors are distinguished from ministers and envoys, who represent only the state where they are from and not the sovereign. Ambassadors are also generally distinguished from certain legates who have only ecclesiastical authority. But the papal nuncio and some legates, such as the legate a latere, bear the rank of ambassador. See NUNCIO; LEGATE. [Cases: Ambassadors and Consuls 1–8. C.J.S. Ambassadors and Consuls §§ 2–32.]

2. A representative appointed by another.

3. An unofficial or nonappointed representative. — Also spelled (archaically) embassador. — ambassadorial, adj. — ambassadorship, n.

ambassador extraordinary. An ambassador who is employed for a particular purpose or occasion and has limited discretionary powers. Cf. ambassador plenipotentiary.

ambassador leger. See resident ambassador.

ambassador ordinary. See resident ambassador.

ambassador plenipotentiary. An ambassador who has unlimited discretionary powers to act as a sovereign’s or government’s deputy, esp. to carry out a particular task, such as treaty negotiations.

— Also termed minister plenipotentiary; envoy plenipotentiary. Cf. ambassador extraordinary.

ordinary ambassador. See resident ambassador.

resident ambassador. An ambassador who resides in a foreign country as the permanent representative of a sovereign or nation. • A resident ambassador has the right to request a personal interview with the host nation’s head of state.

— Also termed ambassador leger; ordinary ambassador; ambassador ordinary.