coun·​cil | \ ˈkau̇n(t)-səl How to pronounce council (audio) \

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

Last year, council members faced pushback from local conservatives over an ordinance that raised the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. Gilbert Garcia,, "Legislative session provided San Antonio some big wins," 7 June 2019 Not that all council members were pleased with the idea at the June 4 meeting. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Gary plans to use the Public Safety building as collateral to pay bills," 7 June 2019 Two council members also accused the department of unfairly withholding the rent payments for 13 months in an effort to coerce the landlord into extending the lease on the office space. Courtney Astolfi,, "Excusable mistakes or bad governance? A look back at 17 months under Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish," 7 June 2019 Finally, without any deliberation, the council members voted unanimously to give City Manager Paul Hofmann the go-ahead to proceed toward a bond sale of $4 million from the $10 million of 2016 bonds. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire council recognizes proclamations, moves forward on bond sale," 6 June 2019 Last July, in need of a super majority of four of five council members to reach a consensus on a November 2018 ballot measure for a half-cent sales tax, Jones and Mendoza voted no. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lemon Grove starts strategizing on plans moving forward," 6 June 2019 An incumbent council member, Susan Shepherd, lost to challenger Rafael Espinoza in 2015. John Aguilar, The Denver Post, "Three Denver City Council members ousted in runoff — likely unprecedented in city history," 5 June 2019 But council members never voted on the motion to appoint Sand. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, "Lakeland mayor doubles down on his position, says he will fill vacant council seat," 3 June 2019 New York city council members want to include funding for security at houses of worship in the next budget, while state legislators in Connecticut are seeking $5 million to pay for measures such as cameras and shatterproof windows. ... Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Lawmakers Push for More Security at Houses of Worship," 29 May 2019

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

Noun and Adjective

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

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Statistics for council

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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


coun·​cil | \ ˈkau̇n-səl How to pronounce council (audio) \

Kids Definition of council

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


coun·​cil | \ ˈkau̇n-səl How to pronounce council (audio) \

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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