coun·​cil | \ˈkau̇n(t)-səl \

Definition of council 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an assembly or meeting for consultation, advice, or discussion the Second Vatican Council

2 : a group elected or appointed as an advisory or legislative body a governor's council a city council

3a : a usually administrative body a council on housing

b : an executive body whose members are equal in power and authority

c : a governing body of delegates from local units of a federation

4 : deliberation in a council

5a : a federation of or a central body uniting a group of organizations the National Council of Teachers of English

b : a local chapter of an organization

c : club, society



Definition of council (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : used for councils especially by or with North American Indians a council ground

2 British : built, maintained, or operated by a local governing agency council housing council flats

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Examples of council in a Sentence


The city council is considering a ban on smoking in restaurants. the governor's council on physical fitness

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All but one council member echoed the mayor’s comments. Bob Christie, The Seattle Times, "Arizona city leaders want lawmaker out over race comments," 4 Dec. 2018 McKinnon said some council members have expressed concern that the state’s legislature would retaliate against the city for rejecting the RNC bid as well. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Charlotte almost voted to stop the 2020 Republican convention from coming to town," 16 July 2018 Bishop is an Air Force veteran who worked for 20 years overseeing the Air Force’s Band of Liberty, which stages more than 600 performances each year, the council said in a statement. John Hilliard,, "Leader of LGBTQ veterans group will oversee South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade," 12 July 2018 Republican Councilman Scott Reed joined that same group of council members in opposing the capital budget. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "See what Metro Council changed in Mayor Greg Fischer's budget plan," 27 June 2018 Romney starts the general election campaign as a heavy favorite against Jenny Wilson, a Democratic Salt Lake County council member. Greg Sullivan,, "Mitt Romney Wins Republican Senate Primary in Utah," 27 June 2018 Now, just get a dozen people in your building together and march down to your local council member’s office. David Freedlander, Daily Intelligencer, "Not That Long Ago, New York City Really Was Run From a Smoke-filled Backroom," 14 June 2018 After Micheli’s arrest in the killing, Howell, the chief federal judge, and council member Allen each summoned District officials to address the continuing errors involving federal inmates detained at D.C. facilities. Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, "An alleged murder by absconding inmate prompts relocation of D.C. Jail prisoners to Virginia," 13 July 2018 The mayor’s annual salary is $100,000 and council members receive $75,000. David Garrick,, "Proposed ballot measure would hike pay for San Diego elected officials," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'council.' 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 council


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for council


Middle English counceil, from Anglo-French cunseil, cuncile, from Latin concilium, from com- + calare to call — more at low


see council entry 1

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Statistics for council

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for council

The first known use of council was in the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of council

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of people who are chosen to make rules, laws, or decisions about something

: a group of people who provide advice or guidance on something



English Language Learners Definition of council (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to a council

: provided by a local government council for people to live in for low rent


coun·​cil | \ˈkau̇n-səl \

Kids Definition of council

: a group of people appointed or elected to make laws or give advice the city council


coun·​cil | \ˈkau̇n-səl \

Legal Definition of council 

: a governmental body: as

a : a group elected as a legislative body city council

b : an administrative body council on aging

c : an executive body whose members are equal in power and authority — compare committee sense 2b

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Comments on council

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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