Definition of summons in English:


Syllabification: sum·mons
Pronunciation: /ˈsəmənz

noun (plural summonses)

  • 1An order to appear before a judge or magistrate, or the writ containing it: a summons for nonpayment of a parking ticket
    More example sentences
    • He then failed to answer a summons from the examining magistrate, and a warrant for his arrest was issued on 28th January 1997.
    • It includes the originating summons and the writ of habeas corpus that were filed in that court and/or the evidentiary material before that court.
    • However, the court did lose jurisdiction over the person and it could only regain that jurisdiction by re-issuing a summons to the defendant to appear.
  • 1.1An authoritative or urgent call to someone to be present or to do something: [with infinitive]: they might receive a summons to fly to France next day
    More example sentences
    • This wasn't a friendly knock; it was an urgent summons.
    • The Raja's envoy, Hari Chand, who reached Kiratpur on the Baisakhi day of 1661, presented the royal summons.
    • So that was what the urgent summons had been about.


[with object] chiefly Law Back to top  
  • Serve (someone) with a summons: [with object and infinitive]: he has been summonsed to appear in court next month
    More example sentences
    • He was summonsed over articles that appeared in Australia and PNG in January expressing concerns over rising crime and the security of his family in PNG.
    • Only one in five of those drivers was subsequently summonsed to appear in court.
    • Another woman was also summonsed for assisting the first defendant.
    serve with a summons, summon, subpoena, cite, serve with a citation


Middle English: from Old French sumunse, from an alteration of Latin summonita, feminine past participle of summonere (see summon).

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