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persona non grata noun


a Latin phrase used to describe someone that people in a particular place find unacceptable or unwelcome
The United States has declared Venezuela's consul general in Miami persona non grata and said she must leave the country by Tuesday.

Hello, I'm Robin from TransLegal and welcome back to our lesson of the week.
Today we are going to talk about persona non grata and persona non grata is a Latin phrase which literally means an unwelcome person. It's a phrase which is used both in the legal and non-legal settings.

Now in a legal sense the phrase has a specific meaning in the diplomatic context. Now pursuant to the Vienna Convention on consular relations a state may at any time and without explanation declare any member of a diplomatic staff persona non grata. Now a person so declared is no longer welcome in that country and is usually forced to return to his or her native country immediately. And we have some recent examples of this. The US has declared Venezuela's Consul General in Miami persona non grata and said she must leave the country right away. Also recently in the Congo all ambassadors in the country were summoned to attend the inauguration of the new President or risk being made persona non grata.

Now in the non-legal sense the phrase is commonly used to refer to people who are generally unacceptable or unwelcome, for instance, an invited dinner guest. And also those who are no longer welcome in a group due to their actions, for instance, a police officer who snitches on his colleagues. Now in this sense we recently heard about the Director Lars von Trier being considered a persona non grata at the Cannes Film Festival for making some controversial comments about Nazis. We have also heard that the actor Richard Gere is persona non grata in China for his long term activism on behalf of Tibetan independence.

Now the opposite of persona non grata is persona grata, however it is very rarely used, and additionally the plural is formed the Latin way and it is personae non gratae.

Now I will not risk becoming a persona non grata on your computer screen and I will say goodbye before I become unwelcome.

Thank you for listening and please leave comments in the box below. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks for today.

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