in state

Idioms & Phrases

in state

With pomp and ceremony, as in The foreign leaders were dining in state at the White House. This expression, dating from the late 1600s, also appears in lie in state, said of a dead body ceremoniously exposed to public view before being interred. This latter usage, dating from about 1700, is generally confined to important public figures, as in His Majesty lay in state in the palace.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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