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justice of the peace

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noun
  1. a local public officer, usually having jurisdiction to try and determine minor civil and criminal cases and to hold preliminary examinations of persons accused of more serious crimes, and having authority to administer oaths, solemnize marriages, etc.
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Origin of justice of the peace

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for justice of the peace

Historical Examples

  • Youre a justice-of-the-peace, and I reckon a lawyer, or a half of a one.

    Justin Wingate, Ranchman

    John H. Whitson

  • Justice-of-the-peace Benaja Widdup smoked his elder-stem pipe.

    Whirligigs

    O. Henry

  • Arkwright was a small politician, and by virtue of that fact held the office of justice-of-the-peace.

  • He had lost his position as justice-of-the-peace, and was now often seedy and much given to drinking.

  • Justice-of-the-Peace Benaja Widdup sat in the door of his office smoking his elder-stem pipe.

    Whirligigs

    O. Henry


British Dictionary definitions for justice of the peace

justice of the peace

noun
  1. (in Britain) a lay magistrate, appointed by the crown or acting ex officio, whose function is to preserve the peace in his area, try summarily such cases as are within his jurisdiction, and perform miscellaneous administrative duties
  2. (in Australia and New Zealand) a person authorised to administer oaths, attest instruments, and take declarations
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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

justice of the peace in Culture

justice of the peace

A local officer of the judicial branch empowered to try minor cases, recommend cases for trial, and perform civil ceremonies, such as marriages and oath taking. Justices of the peace are usually elected locally and are paid fees for their services.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.