ad·​ju·​di·​cate | \ ə-ˈjü-di-ˌkāt How to pronounce adjudicate (audio) \
adjudicated; adjudicating

Definition of adjudicate

transitive verb

: to make an official decision about who is right in (a dispute) : to settle judicially The school board will adjudicate claims made against teachers.

intransitive verb

: to act as judge The court can adjudicate on this dispute.

Other Words from adjudicate

adjudicative \ ə-​ˈjü-​di-​ˌkā-​tiv How to pronounce adjudicate (audio) , -​kə-​ \ adjective
adjudicator \ ə-​ˈjü-​di-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce adjudicate (audio) \ noun
adjudicatory \ ə-​ˈjü-​di-​kə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce adjudicate (audio) \ adjective

Did you know?

Adjudicate is one of several terms that give testimony to the influence of jus, the Latin word for "law," on our legal language. Adjudicate is from the Latin verb adjudicare, from judicare, meaning "to judge," which, in turn, traces to the Latin noun judex, meaning "judge." English has other judex words, such as judgment, judicial, judiciary, and prejudice. If we admit further evidence, we discover that the root of judex is jus. What's the verdict? Latin "law" words frequently preside in English-speaking courtrooms. In addition to the judex words, jury, justice, injury, and perjury are all ultimately from Latin jus.

Examples of adjudicate in a Sentence

The board will adjudicate claims made against teachers. The case was adjudicated in the state courts. The board will adjudicate when claims are made against teachers.
Recent Examples on the Web The International Court of Justice was established in 1945 by the U.N. charter to adjudicate disputes between states. Dahlia Scheindlin, The New Republic, 18 Apr. 2022 The new regulation could alleviate the backlog by allowing asylum officers to adjudicate claims, instead of immigration judges who are facing thousands of cases already. Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, 24 Mar. 2022 Second, the court held that the court has jurisdiction to adjudicate a debtor's interest in intangible personal property (which an LLC interest is) even if that property is located in another state. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 The agency will instruct caseworkers to try to adjudicate requests for temporary work programs, such as H-1B and H-2A visas for agricultural workers, within two months. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 29 Mar. 2022 The agency can charge up to $1,225 in fees to adjudicate petitions for permanent residency, which is also known as green card status. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 8 Nov. 2021 Tamra Bordchadt-Slayton, band chairperson for the Indian Peaks Band of Paiute Indians, told the caucus that her band would adjudicate its water claims in southern Utah. The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Feb. 2022 The United Nations’ International Court of Justice could potentially adjudicate allegations that Russia’s attack was unwarranted. James Hookway, WSJ, 7 Mar. 2022 The panel also suggested the city’s Ethics Commission could help develop a procedure to investigate and adjudicate allegations of conflict of interest made against commissioners. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adjudicate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of adjudicate

circa 1695, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for adjudicate

borrowed from Latin adjūdicātus, past participle of adjūdicāre "to adjudge"

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The first known use of adjudicate was circa 1695

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Adjudicate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for adjudicate


ad·​ju·​di·​cate | \ ə-ˈjü-di-ˌkāt How to pronounce adjudicate (audio) \
adjudicated; adjudicating

Legal Definition of adjudicate

transitive verb

1 : to settle either finally or temporarily (the rights and duties of the parties to a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding) on the merits of the issues raised
2 : to pass judgment on as a judge : settle judicially
3 : to pronounce judicially to be was adjudicated a bankrupt was adjudicated the child's father
4 : to convey by judicial sale

intransitive verb

: to come to a judicial decision : act as judge the court adjudicated upon the case

Other Words from adjudicate

adjudication \ ə-​ˌjü-​di-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce adjudicate (audio) \ noun
adjudicative \ ə-​ˈjü-​di-​ˌkā-​tiv, -​kə-​ \ noun
adjudicator \ -​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce adjudicate (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for adjudicate

Latin adjudicare to award in judgment, from ad to, for + judicare to judge — see judge

More from Merriam-Webster on adjudicate

Nglish: Translation of adjudicate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adjudicate for Arabic Speakers


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