• synonyms


[ 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.


envoy, legate, delegate, lawyer, emissary

Nearby words

consubstantiate, consubstantiation, consuela, consuetude, consuetudinary, consul, consul general, consular, consular agent, consulate, consulate general

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
Can be confusedconsul council counsel (see usage note at council)

Usage note

See council. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for consul

British Dictionary definitions for consul


/ (ˈkɒnsəl) /


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 Formsconsular (ˈkɒnsjʊlə), adjectiveconsulship, noun

Word Origin for consul

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

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