[ koun-suhl ]
See synonyms for council on
  1. an assembly of persons summoned or convened for consultation, deliberation, or advice.

  2. a body of persons specially designated or selected to act in an advisory, administrative, or legislative capacity: the governor's council on housing.

  1. (in certain British colonies or dependencies) an executive or legislative body assisting the governor.

  2. an ecclesiastical assembly for deciding matters of doctrine or discipline.

  3. New Testament. the Sanhedrin or other authoritative body.

Origin of council

First recorded in 1125–75; Middle English co(u)nsile, from Anglo-French cuncil(e), Old French concile, from Late Latin concilium “synod, church council” (Latin: “assembly”), probably equivalent to Latin con- con- + -cil(āre), combining form of calāre “to summon, convoke” + -ium -ium; Middle English -s- by association with Anglo-French cunseil counsel

confusables note For council

Council, counsel, and consul are not interchangeable. Council is a noun. Its most common sense is “an assembly of persons convened for deliberation or the like.” It is generally used with a singular verb. A member of such a group is a councilor. Counsel is both noun and verb. Its most common meaning as a noun is “advice given to another”: His counsel on domestic relations is sound. A person giving such advice is a counselor. In law, counsel means “legal adviser or advisers” and can be either singular or plural. As a verb, counsel means “to advise.” The noun consul refers to the representative of a government who guards the welfare of its citizens in a foreign country.

Other words from council

  • sub·coun·cil, noun

Words that may be confused with council

Words Nearby council Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use council in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for council


/ (ˈkaʊnsəl) /

  1. an assembly of people meeting for discussion, consultation, etc: an emergency council

  2. a body of people elected or appointed to serve in an administrative, legislative, or advisory capacity: a student council

  1. the council (sometimes capital) British the local governing authority of a town, county, etc

  2. a meeting or the deliberation of a council

  3. (modifier) of, relating to, provided for, or used by a local council: a council chamber; council offices

  4. (modifier) British provided by a local council, esp (of housing) at a subsidized rent: a council house; a council estate

  5. Australian an administrative or legislative assembly, esp the upper house of a state parliament in Australia

  6. Christianity an assembly of bishops, theologians, and other representatives of several churches or dioceses, convened for regulating matters of doctrine or discipline

Origin of council

C12: from Old French concile, from Latin concilium assembly, from com- together + calāre to call; influenced also by Latin consilium advice, counsel

confusable For council

Avoid confusion with counsel

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