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 Crystallographer and pacifist Katherine Lonsdale was one of the first women, alongside Marjory Stephenson, to be elected a fellow of the Royal Society, while Helena Normanton was the first woman to practice as a barrister in England. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Princess Diana Will Be Honored With a Blue Plaque at Her London Apartment," 5 Apr. 2021 Other women gaining recognition with the campaign include crystallographer and peace campaigner Kathleen Lonsdale, former slave Ellen Craft, social reformer Caroline Norton, designer Jean Muir, and barrister Helena Normanton. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Princess Diana's 'Happy Place' Is Becoming an Official Heritage Site — and You Can Visit," 5 Apr. 2021 Those convicted also include prominent barrister Margaret Ng and veteran democrat Albert Ho. Washington Post, "Hong Kong court finds veteran pro-democracy activists, most over 60, guilty of unauthorized assembly," 1 Apr. 2021 The other defendants included prominent barrister Margaret Ng, 73; and veteran democrats Lee Cheuk-yan, 64; Albert Ho, 69; Leung Kwok-hung, 65; and Cyd Ho, 66. NBC News, "Veteran Hong Kong democracy leaders convicted over 2019 protests in landmark case," 1 Apr. 2021 Tom Tugendhat, Iain Duncan Smith, Neil O'Brien, Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani -- and two members of the House of Lords, David Alton and Helena Kennedy, as well as academic Joanne Smith Finley and barrister Geoffrey Nice. James Griffiths, CNN, "China sanctions UK lawmakers and entities in retaliation for Xinjiang measures," 25 Mar. 2021 The election on February 12th of Karim Khan, a British barrister, as chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague was surely a sign that Britain still had diplomatic heft post-Brexit. The Economist, "Karim Khan, the International Criminal Court’s new chief prosecutor," 20 Feb. 2021 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

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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about barrister

Time Traveler for barrister

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for barrister

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barrister.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for barrister



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

Comments on barrister

What made you want to look up barrister? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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