Whether democratically elected or not, some people are in power for unusually long. What word distinguishes for example, a democratically elected official who has been in power for 40 years versus one that's been in power for 2 years?

You might think such a word is inappropriate because there's no clear place to draw the line where "unusually long" starts, but in baseball we do have the term "veteran player" to describe a player that has many seasons of experience. In this context "veteran" usually has a positive connotation.

The term "veteran president" or "veteran dictator" doesn't seem right because "veteran" has a positive connotation (meaning "well experienced"), whereas for unusually long or dangerously long terms in office one might want to use a word that puts emphasis not on the benefit of having a lot of experience, but maybe on the drawbacks of being in power for such a long time.

  • There are, of course, monarchs, who serve for life by definition. (You started your question with "whether democratically elected or not," but then seemed to change what you were looking for.) Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


long-running macmillan

having continued for a long time / of considerable duration


long-standing TFD

existing or in effect for a long time

  • 2
    Would it not be 'long-standing' ? 'Running' for President means 'not yet elected'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 11:20
  • @NigelJ noted and so edited
    – lbf
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 11:52


A person with lifetime tenure as the head of a government or organization


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