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

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.
adjudicative adjective
adjudicator noun
adjudicatory adjective

Did you know?

Adjudicate, which is usually used to mean "to make an official decision about who is right in a dispute," is one of several terms that give testimony to the influence of jus, the Latin word for "law," on our legal language. Others include judgment, judicial, prejudice, jury, justice, injury, and perjury. What's the verdict? Latin "law" words frequently preside in English-speaking courtrooms.

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 One person died before his case was adjudicated in court. Alex Mann, Baltimore Sun, 11 Sep. 2023 Such claims are inherently difficult to adjudicate because of many of the factors at issue in this case: a lack of eyewitnesses and recordings, the passage of time and the thorniness of litigating consent. USA TODAY, 10 Sep. 2023 Leavitt notes that he was appointed by President Biden to a seat on the Merit Systems Protection Board, which adjudicates federal workplace disputes. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, 19 July 2023 Approximately 561 defendants have had their cases adjudicated and received sentences for their criminal activity Jan. 6, 2021, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, 11 July 2023 Federal courts traditionally prohibit cameras in the courtroom, but the new case would be adjudicated in Georgia Superior Court, where TV coverage is routine. Peter Funt, WSJ, 18 Aug. 2023 And while Colorado has a red-flag law aimed at temporarily removing gun access from those deemed a danger to themselves or others, it might not have been applied to Aldrich if his 2021 case had never been adjudicated or if no one ever pursued the intervention. Andi Babineau, CNN, 26 June 2023 The latter penalty would be in play only if the case was adjudicated in Suffolk Superior Court, Dearborn said. Nicole Yang,, 19 June 2023 The accusation turns out to be old news that was adjudicated more than a decade ago. Mark Paoletta, WSJ, 4 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adjudicate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1695, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of adjudicate was circa 1695


Dictionary Entries Near adjudicate

Cite this Entry

“Adjudicate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ad·​ju·​di·​cate ə-ˈjüd-i-ˌkāt How to pronounce adjudicate (audio)
adjudicated; adjudicating
: to decide, award, or sentence judicially
adjudicate a claim

Legal Definition


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

transitive verb

: 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
: to pass judgment on as a judge : settle judicially
: to pronounce judicially to be
was adjudicated a bankrupt
was adjudicated the child's father
: to convey by judicial sale

intransitive verb

: to come to a judicial decision : act as judge
the court adjudicated upon the case
adjudication noun
ə-ˈjü-di-ˌkā-tiv, -kə-
adjudicator noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on adjudicate

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