[ 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 formssu·per·ar·bi·ter, noun

Definition for arbiter (2 of 2)

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 ar·bi·ter e·le·gan·ti·a·rum [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/. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for arbiter

British Dictionary definitions for arbiter


/ (ˈɑːbɪtə) /


a person empowered to judge in a dispute; referee; arbitrator
a person having complete control of something

Word Origin for arbiter

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

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