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

Chicago has been anticipating charges against Mr. Burke, who has been on the council for nearly 50 years, since the FBI raided his offices in November and again in December. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "Longest-Serving Chicago Alderman Charged With Attempted Extortion," 3 Jan. 2019 Pressley hoped that chatter would die down in 2013, when Michelle Wu was elected to serve on the council. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "How Many Women Does It Take to Change a Congress?," 10 Oct. 2018 The Hong Kong National Party has never held any seats on the council. Fox News, "In a first, Hong Kong bans pro-independence political party," 23 Sep. 2018 The council must yet approve what amounts to about $500 million. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "Mayor Joe Hogsett breaks ground on Indianapolis jail — months before council gives final OK," 12 July 2018 During its most recent meeting July 2, the council approved Resolution 2018-13, which sets out the new policy, including definitions and reporting procedures. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Havre de Grace council introduces anti-harrassment policy for elected, appointed leaders," 10 July 2018 The council approved the proposal Wednesday by an 11-1 vote. Danny Mcdonald,, "Getting a parking ticket in Boston is about to get even more painful," 7 June 2018 The council also approved a $164.7 million capital budget for construction and renovation projects. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "Council passes record high Howard County budget," 31 May 2018 Greenfield Health Department director Darren Rausch agrees, having told the council that one out of three students in the Greenfield School District qualify for free or reduced price lunches because of their low family incomes. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New food pantry opening at Salvation Army believed to be Greenfield's first," 2 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

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

4 Mar 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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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).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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