[ koun-suh l ]
/ ˈkaʊn səl /


an assembly of persons summoned or convened for consultation, deliberation, or advice.
a body of persons specially designated or selected to act in an advisory, administrative, or legislative capacity: the governor's council on housing.
(in certain British colonies or dependencies) an executive or legislative body assisting the governor.
an ecclesiastical assembly for deciding matters of doctrine or discipline.
New Testament. the Sanhedrin or other authoritative body.

Origin of council

1125–75; Middle English co(u)nsile < Anglo-French cuncil(e), Old French concile < 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


sub·coun·cil, noun


board committee council panel trustconsul council counsel (see usage note at the current entry)

usage 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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for council

British Dictionary definitions for council

/ (ˈkaʊnsəl) /


Word Origin for council

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

undefined 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