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[maj-uh-streyt, -strit] /ˈmædʒ əˌstreɪt, -strɪt/
a civil officer charged with the administration of the law.
a minor judicial officer, as a justice of the peace or the judge of a police court, having jurisdiction to try minor criminal cases and to conduct preliminary examinations of persons charged with serious crimes.
Origin of magistrate
1350-1400; Middle English magistrat < Latin magistrātus magistracy, magistrate, equivalent to magist(e)r master + -ātus -ate3
Related forms
magistrateship, noun
Can be confused
magisterial, magistrate, majestic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for magistrate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In this instance, the populace are more puritanic than the magistrate.

    Old News Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • At last, however, a magistrate was found and a private investigation of his case granted.

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • The magistrate thought a moment, and replied, "Alice Darvil."

    Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • At this very moment the soldiers, preceded by a magistrate, entered the room.

    The Black Tulip Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • The magistrate cast a glance at a small note at the top of his papers.

    The Black Tulip Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
British Dictionary definitions for magistrate


/ˈmædʒɪˌstreɪt; -strɪt/
a public officer concerned with the administration of law related adjective magisterial
another name for justice of the peace
(NZ) the former name for district court judge
Derived Forms
magistrateship, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin magistrātus, from magister master
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 magistrate

late 14c., "civil officer in charge of administering laws," from Old French magistrat, from Latin magistratus "a magistrate, public functionary," originally "magisterial rank or office," from magistrare "serve as a magistrate," from magister "chief, director" (see master). Related: Magistracy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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