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[kon-suh l] /ˈkɒn səl/
an official appointed by the government of one country to look after its commercial interests and the welfare of its citizens in another country.
either of the two chief magistrates of the ancient Roman republic.
French History. one of the three supreme magistrates of the First Republic during the period 1799–1804.
Origin of consul
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin; traditionally taken to be a derivative of consulere to consult, but orig. and interrelationship of both words is unclear
Related forms
consular, adjective
consulship, noun
nonconsular, adjective
subconsul, noun
subconsular, adjective
subconsulship, noun
Can be confused
consul, council, counsel (see usage note at council)
Usage note
See council. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for consul
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The consul then saw the Dutch merchant, and the matter was arranged between them.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • She had a new cap tain, and he consented to receive me as a consul's man.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • I suppose there must be a consul—Asiut seems a big, important town.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • The British consul hadn't had such a marriage in the whole of his consularity.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • In 1811 Mr. Madison appointed him consul at Riga, but he declined the place.

British Dictionary definitions for consul


an official appointed by a sovereign state to protect its commercial interests and aid its citizens in a foreign city
(in ancient Rome) either of two annually elected magistrates who jointly exercised the highest authority in the republic
(in France from 1799 to 1804) any of the three chief magistrates of the First Republic
Derived Forms
consular (ˈkɒnsjʊlə) adjective
consulship, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin, from consulere to consult
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 consul

late 14c., "magistrate in ancient Rome," from Old French consule and directly from Latin consul "magistrate in ancient Rome," probably originally "one who consults the Senate," from consulere "to deliberate, take counsel" (see consultation).

Modern sense began with use as appellation of various foreign officials and magistrates, "a representative chosen by a community of merchants living in a foreign country; an agent appointed by a government or ruler to represent the interests of its subjects and traders in a foreign place" (c.1600), an extended sense that developed 13c. in the Spanish form of the word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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