• synonyms


[trahy-byoon-l, tri-]
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  1. a court of justice.
  2. a place or seat of judgment.
  3. Also called tribune. a raised platform for the seats of magistrates, as in an ancient Roman basilica.
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Origin of tribunal

1520–30; < Latin tribūnal, tribūnāle judgment seat, equivalent to tribūn(us) tribune1 + -āl(e) -al2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tribunal


  1. a court of justice or any place where justice is administered
  2. (in Britain) a special court, convened by the government to inquire into a specific matter
  3. a raised platform containing the seat of a judge or magistrate, originally that in a Roman basilica
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin tribūnus tribune 1
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 tribunal


mid-15c., from Old French tribunal (13c.), from Latin tribunal "platform for the seat of magistrates, elevation, embankment," from tribunus "official in ancient Rome, magistrate," literally "head of a tribe," from tribus (see tribe). Hence, a court of justice or judicial assembly (1580s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper