Definition of court in English:

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Pronunciation: /kɔːt/


1 (also court of law) A body of people presided over by a judge, judges, or magistrate, and acting as a tribunal in civil and criminal cases: she will take the matter to court [as modifier]: a court case
More example sentences
  • By June this year, the Task Force had successfully commenced 17 criminal prosecutions in the courts of law with only three of the prosecuted cases falling through.
  • Even in a court of law the judge accepts my expert witness opinion without adulteration or hesitation, and you are not beyond the courts.
  • It is inherent in the proper conduct of judicial proceedings in a court of law.
court of law, law court, bench, bar, court of justice, judicature, tribunal, forum, chancery, assizes;
French palais de justice
1.1The place where a court meets: everyone in the court knew he was going down, innocent or guilty
More example sentences
  • Visits to police stations, jails, courts and offices of the Human Rights Commission and Women's Commission will be part of the functions.
  • I met Catherine at the courts after lunch, both of us dreading the hours of grading and drills.
  • In the escort service, the police's main role was to supervise the transfer of remand prisoners between police stations and courts.
2A quadrangular area, either open or covered, marked out for ball games such as tennis or squash: a squash court
More example sentences
  • Leisure facilities include gym, spa (with sauna and steam bath), jogging track, tennis and squash courts.
  • The hotel has it's own private beach, gym, tennis squash and badminton courts.
  • The Centre has four squash courts and also boasts saunas, a steam room and sunbeds, a crèche, a gym and an aerobics studio.
playing area, enclosure, field, ground, ring, rink, green, alley, stadium, track, arena;
British  close
informal park
2.1A quadrangular area surrounded by a building or group of buildings: the map showed the crescents and courts of recent urban sprawl
More example sentences
  • Vaulted archways lead to shaded courts, while gardens surround the buildings on all sides.
  • Traditional Cambridge colleges, modelled on monastic cloisters, consist of courts surrounded by walls of individual rooms.
  • The most important room on view is the Harem, a compound of around 300 shining tiled chambers on several levels, connected by arcaded courts and fountain gardens.
yard, courtyard, quadrangle, square, close, enclosure, precinct, esplanade;
in Spain plaza, patio;
in Italy piazza;
cloister, arcade;
South African  lapa
informal quad
2.2 (Court) Used in the names of large houses or blocks of flats: Hampton Court
More example sentences
  • The body was found at a house in St Nicholas Court.
  • The company started out at Isabella Court in Pickering and Phylward House in Harrogate.
  • Ronnie was the first in the band to buy it and we listened to it over and over at his Earl's Court flat.
3The courtiers, retinue, and household of a sovereign: the emperor is shown with his court
More example sentences
  • He had determined to rule England from his court and household, and not through the nobility.
  • In early medieval times, the court, or household, was the centre of government.
  • In 1856, during a stay in London, he sold 31 pictures to the royal household and court.
royal household, establishment, retinue, entourage, train, suite, escort, company, attendant company, staff, personnel, cortège, following, bodyguard;
aides, members of court, courtiers, companions, attendants, servants, retainers, associates, followers
3.1A sovereign and his or her councillors, constituting a ruling power: relations between the king and the imperial court
More example sentences
  • The expansion of trade along the Thames, and the broadening power of the royal court led to a London property boom.
  • They also transacted business for the imperial court and were awarded ranks and privileges.
  • Leonardo clearly believed that wealth, patronage, and political power lay in the courts to the east of mainland Europe.
3.2A sovereign’s residence: he lived for four years at the court of King Philip
More example sentences
  • He also continued his law career taking up residence at the courts of Mainz before 1670.
  • The re-established papacy soon transferred its court to the Vatican Palace.
  • Red deer, along with various wildfowl and fish, were all important elements in the menus of the royal court of Henry VIII.
royal residence, palace, castle, manor, hall;
in France château;
in Italy palazzo;
in German-speaking countries schloss;
in Spain alcazar
in Turkey , historical seraglio
4The qualified members of a company or a corporation.
Example sentences
  • The decision on the succession rests with the nomination committee of the court of directors.
  • Ordination must be conferred by a court of three, containing at least one ordained member.
4.1A meeting of the members of a company or a corporation.


1 [with object] dated Be involved with (someone) romantically, with the intention of marrying: he was courting a girl from the neighbouring farm [no object]: we went to the cinema when we were courting
More example sentences
  • I was attractive, at least that is what the suitors would say when they came with the intentions of courting me.
  • Memories flood her mind bringing back images of the man who had once besotted her, courted her and married her, of the man who became her heart and soul.
  • She watched her older sisters be courted and then married, and she began emulating them at an early age.
go out together, go out, go with each other, keep company
informal date, go steady
1.1(Of a male bird or other animal) try to attract (a mate).
Example sentences
  • Along the way, the birds court and mate, thwart the red-tailed hawks, and breed.
  • Males of both species readily courted females of both species.
  • Two percent of male ostriches ignore females and instead court other males with a lively dance.
2Pay special attention to (someone) in an attempt to win their support or favour: Western politicians courted the leaders of the newly independent states
More example sentences
  • More displays like last night's will court him no favours in Detroit or elsewhere.
  • Conner had been the first, albeit a bit unknowingly, to come to the castle in an attempt to court her.
  • No politician will come courting us until I can say that we have several hundred thousand members.
curry favour with, make up to, play up to;
ingratiate oneself with, cultivate, seek the favour of, try to win over, try to get on the good side of;
be obsequious towards, grovel to, be servile towards, be sycophantic towards, kowtow to, pander to, abase oneself to, demean oneself to, bow and scrape to, prostrate oneself to, toady to, truckle to, dance attendance on, fawn on/over
informal suck up to, crawl to, creep to, be all over, lick someone's boots, fall all over, rub up the right way, keep someone sweet, sweet-talk, soft-soap, butter up
North American  brown-nose
vulgar slang lick/kiss someone's arse
archaic blandish
2.1Try hard to win (favourable attention): he never had to court the approval of the political elite
More example sentences
  • Although happy to be given the retrospective collection, she didn't court the attention.
  • Well, these bags have been courting attention this past fortnight or so.
  • But let's not forget that she courted attention herself.
seek, try to obtain, pursue, go after, strive for, go for, push towards, work towards, be intent on, aim at/for, have as a goal, have as an objective, aspire to;
solicit, ask for
2.2Risk incurring (misfortune) because of one’s behaviour: he has often courted controversy
More example sentences
  • So he courted his own fate, he was tricked by an extremely sophisticated ruse and met his death.
  • The size and volume of forms and the amount of tax law an individual is expected to comprehend courts the risk that tax evasion will see a quantum leap.
  • But public service broadcasting is about making mistakes, taking risks and courting unpopularity.
risk, invite, attract, provoke, be likely to cause, bring on oneself;
be likely to lead to



go to court

Take legal action: they will go to court to try to have the boundary changed
More example sentences
  • It is all about stopping the citizen from being armed with the resources to go to court to vindicate legal rights.
  • The point has never been legally challenged, but pro-hunt campaigners believe there is a case and have gone to court to seek a judicial review.
  • But is that an argument which is put by defence lawyers when these cases go to court?

have one's day in court

Have a chance to make one’s case in a court of law: victims of violence should have their day in court
More example sentences
  • A businessman locked out of a Kaikohe building bought at a mortgagee sale two months ago will have his day in court today.
  • He said, you know, they have to have their day in court.
  • According to anti-Wal-Mart forces in Edgewood, they have won the right to have their day in court.

in court

Appearing as a party or an advocate in a court of law: he has appeared in court charged with stealing twelve million pounds
More example sentences
  • The case was adjourned so that all three defendants could appear in court together.
  • It is odd that you can get an acquittal, without the defendant even having to appear in court.
  • A man was arrested and appeared in court after a pedestrian and his terrier were killed.

out of court

1Before a legal hearing can take place: they are trying to settle the squabble out of court [as modifier]: an out-of-court settlement
More example sentences
  • He threatened legal action but an out of court settlement was reached.
  • One of the things the legal group has been working on is the encouragement of out of court settlements in legal disputes.
  • Unfortunately, it was settled out of court and the settlement wasn't made public.
2Not worthy of consideration: the price would put it out of court for most private buyers

pay court to

Pay flattering attention to (someone) in order to win favour: statesmen came to pay the king court and ask for alliances
More example sentences
  • He does not tell the women he pays court to in England about his forlorn Irish sweetheart.
  • Voltaire learnt from this mistake, and preferred to pay court to the other great enlightened despot of the age, Catherine II of Russia, from a safe distance and only in writing.
  • Otherwise, I should think I were paying court to a veritable shrew.
homage, deference, obedience, suit, courtship, blandishments, respects, attention, addresses;
(pay court to) woo, court, make up to, make advances to, pursue, seek the favour of;
grovel to, creep to, crawl to, bow and scrape to, toady to, be obsequious to, be servile to, be sycophantic to, abase oneself to, demean oneself to, defer to, ingratiate oneself with, curry favour with, fawn on, flatter, dance attendance on, truckle to, submit to
informal suck up to, lick someone's boots, butter up
North American informal brown-nose
Australian/New Zealand informal smoodge to
vulgar slang kiss the arse of


Middle English: from Old French cort, from Latin cohors, cohort- 'yard or retinue'. The verb is influenced by Old Italian corteare, Old French courtoyer. Compare with cohort.

Words that rhyme with court

abort, apport, assort, athwart, aught, besought, bethought, bort, bought, brought, caught, cavort, comport, consort, contort, Cort, distraught, escort, exhort, export, extort, fort, fought, fraught, import, methought, misreport, mort, naught, nought, Oort, ought, outfought, port, Porte, purport, quart, rort, short, snort, sort, sought, sport, support, swart, taught, taut, thought, thwart, tort, transport, wart, wrought

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