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

In an interview shortly before the tournament, Evelina Christillin, one of only six women on the council, acknowledged the problem. Tariq Panja, New York Times, "For FIFA Executives, World Cup Perks Survive a Scandal," 13 July 2018 Brooks has served on the council since 2002 and is running for re-election this fall. Kimberly Veklerov,, "Oakland to pay $2.2 million to settle ex-Black Panther’s claim," 12 July 2018 Hickman has been vice mayor — a position that rotates each year — since January and has been on the council since 2014, according to Bogue. Brittny Mejia,, "Protesters demand removal of Central Valley official who advocated 'straight pride' month," 11 July 2018 Weinstein, the sole incumbent on the five-member council eligible for re-election, held a 37-vote lead, but Walsh gained ground Thursday when provisional ballots were tallied. Kate Magill, Howard County Times, "After provisional ballot count, Howard council race gets even tighter," 5 July 2018 David Paul Mobley Beech Grove councilman David Paul Mobley remained on the council after his 2013 arrest for patronizing a prostitute. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Curtis Hill and 13 other Indiana politicians caught in alleged sexual misconduct controversies," 3 July 2018 Democrats do not have candidates for assessor or to represent District 4 on the council. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Party leaders putting finishing touches on November ballot in Porter County," 29 June 2018 Lopez has served on the council since January 2015. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Chandler City Council appoints Jeremy McClymonds, names new vice mayor," 29 June 2018 Others on the council say the risk assessment may not be entirely necessary. Vinny Vella,, "A calculated risk? Delaware County Council makes slow progress after six months of debating pipeline study," 27 June 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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Phrases Related to council

student council

the Privy Council

Statistics for council

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for council

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

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More Definitions for council



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).


not any or not one

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