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 For example, in rural Karnes County, Texas, a county court this summer adjudicated a long-running dispute between a white ranch family and the descendants of a Black family who both held title to land targeted by oil and gas prospectors. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Nov. 2023 Quite how much soccer has shifted to allow itself to be adjudicated from afar is overlooked worryingly frequently. Rory Smith, New York Times, 6 Oct. 2023 Families that prevail in their asylum cases — which typically take years to be adjudicated — will be eligible for green cards and, eventually, U.S. citizenship. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, 16 Oct. 2023 The White House has released more than a million migrants into the country with nothing more than an order to appear at court to have their asylum status adjudicated in just the year that runs from last October 1 to this past September 30. The Editors, National Review, 6 Oct. 2023 But there's not always enough capacity at shelters to house everyone that arrives while their cases are adjudicated, with some migrants looking at court dates years down the road. Matt Rivers, ABC News, 22 Sep. 2023 And those who adjudicated the 2014 decision to break apart the Corcoran and divvy up its assets, as the Superior Court did, should ask themselves: Was the public well served by the decision? Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2023 Others however, get funneled into a backlogged system where immigration court cases can take months or years to adjudicate. Quinn Owen, ABC News, 22 Sep. 2023 But to Khan and his supporters, the court decision underlines their belief that colleges are ill-equipped to adjudicate something as fraught as a rape accusation. Vimal Patel,, 17 Sep. 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 2 Dec. 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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