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.

Keep scrolling for more

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, the word for "law." 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web It was created to adjudicate property cases of Greek Cypriots seeking to reclaim their property, as a first step before potentially reaching the human-rights court. Arkansas Online, 11 Sep. 2021 If fear of persecution is established, asylum officers refer migrants to the Justice Department's immigration courts, which could take years to adjudicate applications due to a backlog of over 1.3 million pending cases. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 18 Aug. 2021 Critics, constitutional experts and political opponents have questioned whether Mr. Saied overstepped Article 80, but without the constitutional court that Tunisia is supposed to establish but never has, there is no one to adjudicate the dispute. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2021 By 1560, the total population of captives numbered about 15,000, and in 1560, plantation holders started branding slaves’ foreheads with hot irons in order to adjudicate any potential kidnapping cases. Luke Winkie, The Atlantic, 22 July 2021 To arrive at a different outcome would require the [committee] to ignore the rules the Association's membership has adopted — rules under which the [committee] is required to adjudicate. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 11 Aug. 2021 According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the department was taking two weeks to adjudicate applicants' eligibility details as of mid-May, up from nine days in the first week of March. Todd Richmond, Star Tribune, 2 June 2021 The new process to adjudicate requests for the return of banished U.S. military veterans is part of a broader Biden administration initiative aimed at assisting immigrant service members and their families. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 2 July 2021 The Biden administration has outlined plans to overhaul the asylum system and reduce the backlog by using U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers to adjudicate claims. Washington Post, 16 June 2021

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.

See More

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About adjudicate

Time Traveler for adjudicate

Time Traveler

The first known use of adjudicate was circa 1695

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About adjudicate

Dictionary Entries Near adjudicate




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for adjudicate

Last Updated

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Adjudicate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!