bar·​ris·​ter | \ ˈber-ə-stər How to pronounce barrister (audio) , ˈba-rə- \

Definition of barrister

: a counsel admitted to plead at the bar and undertake the public trial of causes in an English superior court — compare solicitor

Examples of barrister in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This began to change in 2017 when Polly Higgins, a British barrister, launched the Stop Ecocide campaign alongside environmental activist Jojo Mehta. Mélissa Godin, Time, "Lawyers Are Working to Put 'Ecocide' on Par with War Crimes. Could an International Law Hold Major Polluters to Account?," 19 Feb. 2021 Her brilliant barrister husband Mark was one of those who recognized this shining trait of Marguerite’s, that beneath the socialite was a fearsome intelligence; allied to quite staggering feminine insight. Alex Hitz, Town & Country, "Remembering Marguerite Littman, the Woman Who Taught Princess Diana About Philanthropy," 10 Jan. 2021 But in April, Lee, a barrister, was arrested as part of a broader sweep against Hong Kong’s most esteemed stalwarts of the democratic struggle. Timothy Mclaughlin, Wired, "Hong Kong Is a Troubling Case Study in the Death of Democracy," 17 Sep. 2020 The others are Anson Chan, a former head of the civil service; Martin Lee, a barrister; and Albert Ho, another lawyer. The Economist, "In the party’s sights Jimmy Lai’s arrest is a blow to press freedom in Hong Kong," 15 Aug. 2020 In their version, local barrister Hugo Blackwood is also present for the attempt, which goes disastrously wrong. Bill Sheehan, Washington Post, "‘The Hollow Ones,’ by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, nods to classic horror fiction while moving the genre forward," 7 Aug. 2020 Famous names among them are Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim, Columbian singer Shakira, Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek, Lebanese-British barrister Amal Clooney, and fashion designers Elie Saab and Reem Accra. Zeina Karam, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Come with dollars:' Lebanon PM asks its expats to visit home," 1 July 2020 The arrest of prominent activists last month, including veteran politicians, a publishing tycoon and senior barristers, thrust the protest movement back into the spotlight and drew condemnation from Washington and international rights groups. NBC News, "Democratic and pro-China lawmakers scuffle in Hong Kong legislature," 8 May 2020 And in fact, Tony drives a London cab as an adult, and John, Andrew and Charles become a barrister, a solicitor and a television producer, respectively. Naomi Oreskes, Scientific American, "Funding Cuts Threaten to Hobble American Science," 1 May 2020

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

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First Known Use of barrister

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for barrister

Middle English barrester, from barre bar + -ster (as in legister lawyer)

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Time Traveler for barrister

Time Traveler

The first known use of barrister was in the 15th century

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Statistics for barrister

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barrister.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of barrister

: a lawyer in Britain who has the right to argue in higher courts of law


bar·​ris·​ter | \ ˈbar-ə-stər How to pronounce barrister (audio) \

Legal Definition of barrister

1 : a lawyer who argues cases before a British court especially : one who is allowed to argue before a British high court — compare solicitor

Note: Many countries in the Commonwealth (as England and Australia) and the Republic of Ireland divide the legal profession into barristers and solicitors. In Canada, every lawyer is both a barrister and a solicitor, although individual lawyers may describe themselves as one or the other. Scotland uses the term advocate to refer to lawyers allowed to argue cases in its courts.

2 : lawyer

History and Etymology for barrister

Middle English barrester, from barre bar + -ster (as in legister lawyer)

More from Merriam-Webster on barrister

Britannica English: Translation of barrister for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about barrister

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