roi fainéant



From French roi fainéant (lazy king).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌɹwɑː ˈfeɪnɪənt/, /ˌɹwɑː feɪneɪˈɒ̃/


roi fainéant (plural rois fainéants)

  1. (historical) Any of the later French kings of the Merovingian dynasty, considered to have played a merely ceremonial role.
    • 1860, George Augustus Sala, Lady Chesterfield's Letters to her Daughter:
      Whether it be some Visigothic chieftain raised on a shield above the shoulders of his shouting warriors, some Roi Fainéant of the Merovingian race, a listless, pallid, long-haired kingling, dragged languidly through the streets in a painted wagon by sleek oxen, [] it seems clear to me that we must have some sort of a show, and a pageant, and a ‘barbaric pomp’ of procession.
  2. A leader with only nominal power.
    • 1898, Henry Harland, Comedies and Errors:
      He is a King Do-Nothing, a Roi Fainéant, who shirks and evades all the responsibilities of his position []
    • 2012, Adam Gopnik, "Vive La France", The New Yorker, 7 May 2012:
      Although Jacques Chirac more recently gave the role a distinctly sleepy, roi fainéant flavor, it remains a throne more than a mere office.




roi fainéant m (plural rois fainéants)

  1. (historical) roi fainéant