Definition of oyer and terminer in English:

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oyer and terminer

Pronunciation: /ˌoiər an(d) ˈtərminər/


A court authorized to hear certain criminal cases.
Example sentences
  • Following the outbreak of witchcraft accusations in Salem, Phips appointed Stoughton chief justice of the newly formed court of oyer and terminer.
  • At first in the General Eyre and later under the commissions of oyer and terminer and gaol delivery, they would hear criminal cases.


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French oyer et terminer 'hear and determine'.

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