[maj-uh-streyt, -strit]


a civil officer charged with the administration of the law.
a minor judicial officer, as a justice of the peace or the judge of a police court, having jurisdiction to try minor criminal cases and to conduct preliminary examinations of persons charged with serious crimes.

Origin of magistrate

1350–1400; Middle English magistrat < Latin magistrātus magistracy, magistrate, equivalent to magist(e)r master + -ātus -ate3
Related formsmag·is·trate·ship, noun
Can be confusedmagisterial magistrate majestic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for magistrate

Contemporary Examples of magistrate

Historical Examples of magistrate

  • In this instance, the populace are more puritanic than the magistrate.

    Old News

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • At last, however, a magistrate was found and a private investigation of his case granted.


    Scian Dubh

  • The magistrate thought a moment, and replied, "Alice Darvil."

  • At this very moment the soldiers, preceded by a magistrate, entered the room.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • The magistrate cast a glance at a small note at the top of his papers.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

British Dictionary definitions for magistrate



a public officer concerned with the administration of lawRelated adjective: magisterial
another name for justice of the peace
NZ the former name for district court judge
Derived Formsmagistrateship, noun

Word Origin for magistrate

C17: from Latin magistrātus, from magister master
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 magistrate

late 14c., "civil officer in charge of administering laws," from Old French magistrat, from Latin magistratus "a magistrate, public functionary," originally "magisterial rank or office," from magistrare "serve as a magistrate," from magister "chief, director" (see master). Related: Magistracy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper