[oh-yer, oi-er]
noun Law.
  1. oyer and terminer.
  2. a hearing in open court involving the production of some document pleaded by one party and demanded by the other, the party pleading the document being said to make profert.

Origin of oyer

1375–1425; late Middle English < Anglo-French; Old French oïr to hear < Latin audīre
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for oyers


  1. English legal history (in the 13th century) an assize
  2. (formerly) the reading out loud of a document in court
  3. See oyer and terminer
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 oyers



early 15c., "a hearing of causes," from Anglo-French oyer, Old French oir, from Latin audire "to hear" (see audience). Especially in phrase oyer and terminer (early 15c., but from late 13c. in Anglo-Latin and Anglo-French), literally "a hearing and determining," in England a court of judges of assize, in U.S. a higher criminal court.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper