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.

Example Sentences

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 This results in higher numbers – hundreds of days – best representing the experience of high-level offenders, who are held on higher bonds and whose cases often take longer to adjudicate. Kaitlin Durbin, cleveland, 18 Dec. 2022 In an optimal world, would there be some sort of global body or institution to help govern and adjudicate these decisions? David Marchese, New York Times, 12 Aug. 2022 International law requires that the U.S. take in asylum-seekers and adjudicate their claims. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Dec. 2022 Congress established an independent electoral commission to adjudicate the competing claims, but its findings failed to break the deadlock. William A. Galston, WSJ, 29 Nov. 2022 None of us can incorporate all the possible sources of information and adjudicate them. Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine, 7 Jan. 2014 Maybe adjust the standard with respect to asylum, create more resources that are available to adjudicate, and work out additional ways to fund the effort to undermine the cartels and the smugglers, which are a big part of this. CBS News, 27 Nov. 2022 The contest comes at a time when attitudes about criminal justice reform, police violence, and how to adjudicate non-violent offenses are all being reexamined. Jimmy Jenkins, The Arizona Republic, 10 Oct. 2022 Cases like Littrell’s at the NLRB can take months if not years to adjudicate, as the agency’s staffing has shrunk. Eli M. Rosenberg, NBC News, 25 Aug. 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.

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 8 Feb. 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

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

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