Definition of Black Rod noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Black Rod

BrE BrE//ˌblæk ˈrɒd//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌblæk ˈrɑːd//
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an official who takes part in the opening ceremony of the British parliament Word Originmid 17th cent.: so named because of the black wand carried as a symbol of office. Culture Black Rod is responsible for keeping order in the British House of Lords. He is known to the public because he has an important part in the ceremony of the State Opening of Parliament. When he goes to the House of Commons to call its members to the House of Lords to hear the Queen's Speech, they close the door and he has to knock three times with his rod (a black stick) and announce who he is. They let him in and he gives the message that ‘The Queen commands the presence of the honourable House.’ Then they all go to the House of Lords. This ceremony started after 1642, when King Charles I tried to arrest five Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. It shows that the queen or king has no right to interfere in the business of the House of Commons.