Definition of magistrate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈmadʒɪstrət/
Pronunciation: /ˈmadʒɪstreɪt/


A civil officer who administers the law, especially one who conducts a court that deals with minor offences and holds preliminary hearings for more serious ones.
Example sentences
  • It is clear that the magistrates heard a great deal of factual evidence and had regard to that.
  • In sentencing the magistrates said the offences were so serious that custody was the only option.
  • Local residents should serve on juries in the upper courts and as lay magistrates in the lower courts.





Pronunciation: /ˈmadʒɪstrətʃə/
Example sentences
  • Born in a family of magistrates, he was educated at a Jesuit school, studied the law, and practised in the Rouen magistrature until 1630.
  • This organisation of competition for places on the Supreme Court of Justice is done in order to safeguard equality of expectations among candidates from each of the magistratures.
  • The old system of public administration and magistratures came under attack and was abolished by 1786.


Late Middle English: from Latin magistratus 'administrator', from magister 'master'.

  • Magistrate is from Latin magistratus ‘administrator’, from magister ‘master’. This also gives us master (Old English), its weakened form mister (mid 16th century), and miss.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: magis|trate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.