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noun coun·sel \ˈkau̇n(t)-səl\

Simple Definition of counsel

  • : advice given to someone

  • law : a lawyer who represents a person or group in a court of law

Full Definition of counsel

  1. 1 a :  advice given especially as a result of consultation b :  a policy or plan of action or behavior

  2. 2 :  deliberation, consultation

  3. 3 a archaic :  purpose b :  guarded thoughts or intentions

  4. 4 a plural counsel (1) :  a lawyer engaged in the trial or management of a case in court (2) :  a lawyer appointed to advise and represent in legal matters an individual client or a corporate and especially a public body b :  consultant 2

Examples of counsel

  1. We seek counsel from the rich and powerful to learn their secret … —Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly, 13 Feb. 2004

  2. No matter how much time he is given, counsel would always like more, but the Chief Justice will not grant an extra minute unless the lawyer is responding to a question from the bench. —Robert H. Bork, The Tempting Of America, 1990

  3. God had done a poor job, and Soaphead suspected that he himself could have done better. It was in fact a pity that the Maker had not sought his counsel. —Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, (1970) 1994

  4. Counsel were to be employed. … And when the matter had been decided by the lawyers, Lord Fawn was to express his regret for having suspected his lady-love! —Anthony Trollope, The Eustace Diamonds, 1871

  5. You were unwise to reject my counsel.

  6. The student sought counsel from her teacher.

  7. She is serving as counsel for the defendant.

  8. All counsel are expected to obey the rules of the court.

Origin of counsel

Middle English conseil, from Anglo-French cunseil, from Latin consilium, from consulere to consult

First Known Use: 13th century



verb coun·sel \ˈkau̇n(t)-səl\

Simple Definition of counsel

  • : to give advice to (someone)

  • : to listen to and give support or advice to (someone) especially as a job

  • : to suggest or recommend (something)

Full Definition of counsel

coun·seled or coun·selledcoun·sel·ing or coun·sel·ling play \-s(ə-)liŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  advise <counseled them to avoid rash actions — George Orwell>

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  consult <counseled with her husband>

Examples of counsel

  1. He balked at authority and, according to Mr. Green, tuned you out if you tried to counsel him. —David Grann, New Republic, 14 Feb. 2000

  2. She had six children, whom she counseled and with great wisdom and patience. —Erma Bombeck, The Best of Bombeck, (1965) 1967

  3. I had counselled Catherine to dine upstairs, but as soon as he perceived her vacant seat he sent me to call her. —Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, 1847

  4. He counsels people who are trying to quit drinking.

  5. <concerned parents counseling about the problem of substance abuse in their community>

Origin of counsel

(see 1counsel)

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with counsel

COUNSEL Defined for Kids



noun coun·sel \ˈkau̇n-səl\

Definition of counsel

  1. 1 :  advice given <My grandfather's counsel was to be patient.>

  2. 2 plural counsel :  a lawyer representing someone in court



verb coun·sel

Definition of counsel

coun·seled or coun·selledcoun·sel·ing or coun·sel·ling

  1. 1 :  to give advice to :  advise <She counseled him to study harder.>

  2. 2 :  to suggest or recommend <The doctor counseled rest.>

Seen and Heard

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February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

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