oyer and terminer

[ tur-muh-ner ]
/ ˈtɜr mə nər /
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noun Law.

(in some U.S. states) any of various higher criminal courts.
  1. a commission or writ directing the holding of a court to try offenses.
  2. the court itself.



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Origin of oyer and terminer

1375–1425; late Middle English <Anglo-French: literally, to hear and determine

Words nearby oyer and terminer

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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British Dictionary definitions for oyer and terminer

oyer and terminer
/ (ˈtɜːmɪnə) /


English law (formerly) a commission issued to judges to try cases on assize. It became obsolete with the abolition of assizes and the setting up of crown courts in 1972
the court in which such a hearing was held
(in the US) a court exercising higher criminal jurisdiction

Word Origin for oyer and terminer

C15: from Anglo-Norman, from oyer to hear + terminer to judge
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
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