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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of council in a Sentence

Noun The city council is considering a ban on smoking in restaurants. the governor's council on physical fitness
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Center Point City Councilwoman Tiffany Moore, chairwoman of the council’s public safety committee, said the city officials are still analyzing the PARCA study to determine how to distribute funds already allocated toward public safety. Howard Koplowitz |, al, 7 Sep. 2021 After having the five signs removed, Brennan, in an Aug. 29 email to, was again critical of council. cleveland, 2 Sep. 2021 The remaining two members of the council, Gillmor and Kathy Watanabe, voted against termination. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Sep. 2021 Holpfer was selected at a special meeting of the common council on Aug. 25. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 Aug. 2021 For the first time, six of the council’s 13 members were women of color., 26 Aug. 2021 City Commissioner Dan Ryan addressed the court as president of the council. oregonlive, 25 Aug. 2021 Hashimi, the commander, told Reuters, that the rights of Afghan women would lay in the hands of a council of Islamic scholars. Washington Post, 19 Aug. 2021 Attaullah Afghan, the head of the provincial council in Helmand, said the Taliban captured Lashkar Gah following weeks of heavy fighting and raised their white flag over governmental buildings. Katie Rice,, 13 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Barth has previously served as an at-large member of the council and was council vice president from 2013-15. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, 6 Sep. 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.

See More

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 entry 3

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About council

Time Traveler for council

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near council



Council Bluffs

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for council

Last Updated

10 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Council.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on council

Nglish: Translation of council for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 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!