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[ahr-bi-ter] /ˈɑr bɪ tər/
a person empowered to decide matters at issue; judge; umpire.
a person who has the sole or absolute power of judging or determining.
Origin of arbiter
1350-1400; Middle English arbitour, arbitre < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin arbiter
Related forms
superarbiter, noun

arbiter elegantiae

[ahr-bi-ter ey-le-gahn-tee-ahy; English ahr-bi-ter el-uh-gan-shee-ee] /ˈɑr bɪˌtɛr ˌeɪ lɛˈgɑn tiˌaɪ; English ˈɑr bɪ tər ˌɛl əˈgæn ʃiˌi/
noun, Latin.
a judge of elegance or matters of taste.
Also, arbiter elegantiarum
[ahr-bi-ter ey-le-gahn-tee-ah-roo m; English ahr-bi-ter el-uh-gan-shee-air-uh m] /ˈɑr bɪˌtɛr ˌeɪ lɛˌgɑn tiˈɑ rʊm; English ˈɑr bɪ tər ˌɛl əˌgæn ʃiˈɛər əm/ (Show IPA)
. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for arbiter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was terrible to be chosen in this way to be the arbiter of Destiny.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • The event established Mary as the arbiter in her own coterie.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • I, who had engaged as Conductor of the Set and found myself their arbiter as well.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • To an extent which no other animal has ever approached, man is the arbiter of his own destiny.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • I felt this, and could, therefore, be at any moment the arbiter of my own freedom.

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
  • There is a feeling of freedom in being the arbiter of one's actions, to go where you will and when you will.

    Jack Hinton Charles James Lever
  • In his own heart he was loathing this role of arbiter and mentor.

British Dictionary definitions for arbiter


a person empowered to judge in a dispute; referee; arbitrator
a person having complete control of something
Word Origin
C15: from Latin, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for arbiter

late 14c., from Old French arbitre or directly from Latin arbiter "one who goes somewhere (as witness or judge)," in classical Latin used of spectators and eye-witnesses, in law, "he who hears and decides a case, a judge, umpire, mediator;" from ad- "to" (see ad-) + baetere "to come, go." The specific sense of "one chosen by two disputing parties to decide the matter" is from 1540s. The earliest form of the word attested in English is the fem. noun arbitress (mid-14c.) "a woman who settles disputes."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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