From Academic Kids

A viscount is a member of the European nobility, especially , as in the British peerage, ranking above a baron, below a (British) earl or (his continental equivalent) count.

  • Originally, the word derives from the Latin vice comes an appointed deputy of a count, and ?corresponds in Britain to the Anglo-Saxon shire reeve (root of the non-nobiliary, royal-appointed office of Sheriff). . Thus early viscounts were not originally normally given their titles by the monarch, nor hereditary; but soon they too tended to establish hereditary principalities lato sensu.

in English - the Commonwealth

A viscount is said to hold a "viscounty" or "viscountcy". The female equivalent of a viscount is a viscountess.

In the pronunciation of "viscount" and French "vicomte", the 's' is silent, in English pronounced like "vie-count".

  • In British practice, the title of a viscount may be either a placename, or a surname, or, as is more often the case, a combination thereof. In any event, the style of a viscount is "The Viscount X," or "The Viscount X of Y." Examples include: The Viscount Falmouth (placename); The Viscount Hardinge (surname); The Viscount Gage of Castle Island (surname of placename); and The Viscount Combermere of Bhurtpore (placename of placename). An exception exists for Viscounts in the peerage of Scotland, who are styled "The Viscount of X," as in: The Viscount of Arbuthnott (surname).

Normally, a British viscount is known as Lord X, while his wife is Lady X. The children of a viscount are known as The Honourable [Forename] [Surname].

  • A British peculiarity is the use of Viscount as a courtesy title for peers of a higher level (Earl, Marquess or Duke)

continental forms of the title

  • The title of viscount is less common in Italy ("visconte"), though the noble Visconti family, rulers of Milan, offer an outstanding example.

In Italy, a younger member of a conte (count)'s family, assigned a fortified rocca on the outskirts of the territory, would be more likely to be "X, dei conti Y" ("X, of the counts of Y") than Viscount.

  • In the former kingdom of Portugal a visconde ranks above a baro (baron) and below a conde. The first Portuguese viscountcy, that of D. Leonel de Lima, visconde de Vila Nova de Cerveira, dates from the reign of Afonso V. A flood of viscountcies, some 86 new titles, was awarded in Portugal between 1848 and 1880 (Portuguese Wikipedia).
  • In the kingdom of Spain the title was awarded from the reign of Filipe IV (1621-65; Habsburg dynasty) until 1846.
  • In various languages we need to verify wether the existing title has actually been awarded there, or is just an empty rendeing of foreign realities.
    • Hungarian : vikomt and even vicomte (as in french)

equivalent titles

  • There is no etymologically equivalent title of viscount in several languages including German : a Baron ranks below a Graf.

However, in such case titles of the etymological Burgrave-family (not in countries with a viscount-form, such as Italian burgravio alongside visconte) could establish themselves at exactly the same level.

    • Thus in dutch, Burggraaf is the rank above Baron, below Graaf (i.e. count) in the kingdoms of the Netherlands and Belgium (here, be law, the official translation, as Burggraf in German, of the title vicomte in french, the other official language!)
  • analogous uses for other cultures ?


  • Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 1956, introduction, pp

ja:子爵 mk:Виконт nl:Burggraaf sv:viscount


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