[joo r-is-dik-shuh n]
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  1. the right, power, or authority to administer justice by hearing and determining controversies.
  2. power; authority; control: He has jurisdiction over all American soldiers in the area.
  3. the extent or range of judicial, law enforcement, or other authority: This case comes under the jurisdiction of the local police.
  4. the territory over which authority is exercised: All islands to the northwest are his jurisdiction.

Origin of jurisdiction

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin jūris dictiōn- stem of jūris dictiō (see jus, diction); replacing Middle English jurediccioun < Old French juredicion < Latin, as above
Related formsju·ris·dic·tion·al, adjectiveju·ris·dic·tive, adjectiveju·ris·dic·tion·al·ly, adverbpre·ju·ris·dic·tion, nounsu·per·ju·ris·dic·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for jurisdiction


  1. the right or power to administer justice and to apply laws
  2. the exercise or extent of such right or power
  3. power or authority in general
Derived Formsjurisdictional, adjectivejurisdictionally, adverbjurisdictive, adjective

Word Origin for jurisdiction

C13: from Latin jūrisdictiō administration of justice; see jus, diction
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 jurisdiction

early 14c. "administration of justice" (attested from mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French juridiccion (13c.) and directly from Latin iurisdictionem (nominative iurisdictio) "administration of justice, jurisdiction," from ius (genitive iuris; see jurist) "right, law" + dictio "a saying" (see diction). Meaning "extent or range of administrative power" is from late 14c. Related: Jurisdictional.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper