or coun·sel·ling


noun Psychology.

professional guidance in resolving personal conflicts and emotional problems.

Origin of counseling



noun, plural coun·sel for 3.

advice; opinion or instruction given in directing the judgment or conduct of another.
interchange of opinions as to future procedure; consultation; deliberation.
Law. (used with a singular or plural verb) the advocate or advocates engaged in the direction of a cause in court; a legal adviser or counselor: Is counsel for the defense present?
deliberate purpose; plan; design.
Theology. one of the advisory declarations of Christ, considered by some Christians as not universally binding but as given for aid in attaining moral perfection.
Archaic. a private or secret opinion or purpose.
Obsolete. wisdom; prudence.

verb (used with object), coun·seled, coun·sel·ing or (especially British) coun·selled, coun·sel·ling.

to give advice to; advise.
to urge the adoption of, as a course of action; recommend (a plan, policy, etc.): He counseled patience during the crisis.

verb (used without object), coun·seled, coun·sel·ing or (especially British) coun·selled, coun·sel·ling.

to give counsel or advice.
to get or take counsel or advice.

Origin of counsel

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English counseil < Anglo-French cunseil, Old French conseil < Latin consilium “debate, advice, advisory body, plan,” equivalent to consil-, variant stem of consulere “to apply for advice” (see consult) + -ium -ium; (verb) < Anglo-French cunseiler (Old French conseillier) < Late Latin consiliāre, derivative of consilium
Related formscoun·sel·a·ble; especially British, coun·sel·la·ble, adjectivepre·coun·sel, noun, verb, pre·coun·seled, pre·coun·sel·ing or (especially British) pre·coun·selled, pre·coun·sel··coun·sel, verb (used with object), re·coun·seled, re·coun·sel·ing or (especially British) re·coun·selled, re·coun·sel·ling.un·coun·seled, adjectiveun·coun·selled, adjectivewell-coun·seled, adjectivewell-coun·selled, adjective
Can be confusedconsul council counsel (see usage note at council)

Synonyms for counsel

Synonym study

1. See advice.

Usage note

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

Examples from the Web for counseling

Contemporary Examples of counseling

Historical Examples of counseling

British Dictionary definitions for counseling



advice or guidance on conduct, behaviour, etc
discussion, esp on future procedure; consultationto take counsel with a friend
a person whose advice or guidance is or has been sought
a barrister or group of barristers engaged in conducting cases in court and advising on legal matterscounsel for the prosecution
a policy or plan
Christianity any of the counsels of perfection or evangelical counsels, namely poverty, chastity, and obedience
counsel of perfection excellent but unrealizable advice
private opinions or plans (esp in the phrase keep one's own counsel)
archaic wisdom; prudence

verb -sels, -selling or -selled or US -sels, -seling or -seled

(tr) to give advice or guidance to
(tr; often takes a clause as object) to recommend the acceptance of (a plan, idea, etc); urge
(intr) archaic to take counsel; consult
Derived Formscounsellable or US counselable, adjective

Word Origin for counsel

C13: from Old French counseil, from Latin consilium deliberating body; related to consul, consult


Avoid confusion with council
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 counseling



early 13c., from Old French counseil (10c.) "advice, counsel; deliberation, thought," from Latin consilium "plan, opinion" (see consultation). As a synonym for "lawyer," first attested late 14c.



late 13c., from Old French conseiller "to advise, counsel," from Latin consiliari, from consilium "plan, opinion" (see counsel (n.)). Related: Counseled. Counseling "giving professional advice on social or psychological problems" dates from 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with counseling


see keep one's own counsel.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.