A President Has His Presidency; A Prime Minister Has His ????

We describe a president’s term in office as his presidency. As in, “George W Bush’s presidency saw the beginning of the War on Terror.”

How do we describe a prime minister’s term in office? His ministry? His prime ministry? His prime ministership? As in, “During his XXXXXX, Tony Blair became the proud father of a baby…” What do we put in place of XXXXXX?

Also, how do we describe the term in office of a lesser minister, like, say, a Minister of Silly Walks? “During Sir Nigel Tettenbottam’s Ministry of Silly Walks…”?

The Prime Minister has his Government.


‘Term of Office’?

“Premiership”. For a non-Prime minister, I suppose it would be “ministry”, or just “tenure” or “term of office”.

That’s a closer match to a president’s “Administration.”

“Prime Ministership” is correct, but awkward sounding enough that its hardly ever used in regular conversation – we tend to say things like “time in office,” “tenure,” or “years in power” instead.

Usram, in Canada at least, we wouldn’t say “premiership” for the Prime Minister – because each province has a premier. A “premiership” is more like a U.S. “governorship.”

If you’re not confused yet, Quebec’s premier is referred to (in French) as “the Premier ministre,” which transliterates back into English as “Prime Minister.” Heh.

Wouldn’t “Premiership” just be reserved for football in the UK?

Or does 10 Downing Street field a squad every year and use its position of influence to never get relegated?

You kill me, BobT. All kidding aside, it is well observed that there is little grammatical sense in calling the top division of English football the “Premiership”, there being no Premier to have a Ship. But that’s the least of our problems - it was recently decreed that what was once the third division is now League One (I think I’ve got that right, but I’m past caring). The teams that play in Coca Cola League One are no better than they were in Division Three, though.


Usram is correct. “Prime Minister” and “Premier” are synonymous, the first being the British (and British-derived) usage, and the second the French and Continental usage. There are numerous references to British Prime Ministers using adjectival forms derived from Premier in the historical literature; “Premiership” would be the obvious noun equivalent to “Presidency.”

I’ve heard both “term of office” and “premiership” used in the Australian context. I think the former is more common though, perhaps because each state has its own Premier in Australia, and so the term “premiership” could refer to the time as head of government at either the Commonwealth or the state level.

I’ve always thought of ‘premier’ to be a generic term, as in the following sentence:
“The premier of the United States has the title of President”.

It’s muddied by some places using the term as a specific one. The Australian equivalent to US state governors is officially “Premier” (we have state Governors too, just to confuse things further).

“Prime Ministership” is used here all the time. I don’t find it too awkward.

Perhaps this is Aussie, or even Commonwealth usage, but I would not consider it any more correct than saying “the president of Australia has the title of Prime Minister.” But in parliamentary democracies, I suppose you could say “the premier of Germany has the title of Chancellor.”

Just to get back to answering the question:

It is government.

“The Watergate Scandal was the ruin of the Nixon Administration.”

“The Profumo Affair was the ruin of the McMillan Government.”

You might want to reread the OP (and maybe posts #2 and #5) again, saoirse. :wink: