the royal we(redirected from royal 'we')
the royal we
1. The use of first-person plural pronouns ("we," "us," "our") by a royal sovereign when referring to him- or herself. A: "Why did the king keep calling himself 'we' throughout his speech?" B: "Oh, that's the royal we. It's just something monarchs do."
2. cliché Used humorously to indicate when something ostensibly involving or describing multiple people in reality only refers to one person. A: "We really need to mow the lawn this weekend." B: "That sounds like the royal we to me." A: "Fine—[b]you[/b] need to mow the lawn this weekend."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
the royal we
The first person plural used by a person with supreme authority, or, in modern times, sometimes to preserve anonymity. Supposedly, the first king to use we in this way was Richard I in the Charter to Winchester (1190). “We are not amused” is a rebuke often attributed to straitlaced Queen Victoria. In the twentieth century, magazines and newspapers frequently use the editorial we to express an opinion that may in fact be shared by no one but the writer. Lisa Alther expressed an opinion about that in her novel Kinflicks (1979): “She had learnt . . . that it was impossible to discuss issues civilly with a person who insisted on referring to himself as ‘we.’”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer