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from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • the usher to the Chapter of the Garter, so called from the black rod which he carries. He is of the king's chamber, and also usher to the House of Lords.
  • An usher in the legislature of British colonies.
  • n. See in the Vocabulary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In England, the usher belonging to the order of the Garter, more fully styled gentleman usher of the black rod: so called from the black rod which he carries.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Parliament, which traces its existence back to the 12th century, is still tradition-bound, ranging from a tights-wearing official called Black Rod who knocks on the door to bring members in to hear the Queen's speech, to the provision of tobacco snuff at the entrance to its debating chamber.

    Scandal in U.K. Spurs a Historic Departure

  • The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod is the senior officer in the House of Lords and is in overall charge of the House's administration.

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • Lawmakers are summoned from the Commons by an official known as Black Rod - but only after they slam the door in his face to symbolize their independence.

    The Shad Plank

  • He was preceded by Black Rod, Garter King of Arms, girt in an Alice in Wonderland tabard, festooned with harps and other armorial devices.

    The peerless John Prescott takes his place in House Of Lords

  • The British are desperate to see our creakily ancient institutions - newspapers and political parties dominated by wealthy Oxbridge graduates and a parliamentary system where official communication between the two houses is still overseen by the hereditary figure of Black Rod - reshaped by the internet.

    LabourList: Can't stop the blog: what the internet has done for ideas

  • Black Rod, the head of security at the House of Lords, has ordered extra security for the event.

    Geert Wilders banned from the UK.

  • In 2007, Mr. Skinner shouted at Black Rod "who shot the harriers?" in reference to the shooting of two protected harriers near a royal property.

    Parliament Finally Sees Some Beauty

  • When Black Rod, the monarch's representative in the House of Lords, knocks on the door of Commons to invite MPs to listen to the Queen's annual speech to Parliament, the door is slammed in his face to symbolize the independence of the House of Commons from royalty.

    Parliament Finally Sees Some Beauty

  • Maybe Black Rod should have a look in his little black book.

    BBC Injunction Relaxed

  • But The Black Rod goes a little too far with this piece:

    Archive 2007-03-01


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