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

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 Stein added that one council member had a flight to catch that had already been re-booked from earlier in the day in order to attend the special session. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Cleveland Heights council paves the way for MetroHealth expansion with 5-1 vote, more talks," 26 Mar. 2021 Republican town council member Lee Gold voted with Cantor and four of her fellow Democratic councilors this week to pursue the purchase. Don Stacom,, "West Hartford looks to create $6 million community services hub in Elmwood at former St. Brigid site," 25 Mar. 2021 Evanston's plan came up short in the eyes of some local residents and one council member. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Chicago suburb to become first U.S. city to pay reparations to Black residents," 22 Mar. 2021 Novitke held the mayor’s seat since 1990 and served as a council member for 13 years, seven of which were spent as mayor pro tempore. Minnah Arshad, Detroit Free Press, "Grosse Pointe Woods Mayor Robert E. Novitke dies at 74," 20 Mar. 2021 One member of the Havre de Grace City Council expressed concern about plans by a local firehouse to raffle two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles for a fundraiser, while another council member came to the company’s defense this week. David Anderson,, "Havre de Grace officials debate appropriateness of Susquehanna Hose fire company’s AR-15 gun raffles," 17 Mar. 2021 Matthew DeFour, a council member, is state politics editor for the Wisconsin State Journal. Matthew Defour, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Ten years ago, when Wisconsin legislators drew voting maps in secret, it cost taxpayers $3.5 million. We need a more open process.," 14 Mar. 2021 Washington:After weeks of neighbors advocating, D.C. is adding a Ward 6 zip code to the vaccine priority list this week, according to council member Charles Allen, WUSA-TV reported. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "COVID-19 scams, Big Easy buzz, nurses protest: News from around our 50 states," 12 Mar. 2021 In November, voters reelected Mayor Kate Gallego and District 5 Councilmember Betty Guardado, and chose Ann O'Brien as a new council member in District 1. Jen Fifield, The Arizona Republic, "2 Phoenix council seats on ballot in Tuesday's election," 9 Mar. 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, "Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police endorses Mayor Joe Hogsett's re-election campaign," 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.

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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 entry 3

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Time Traveler for council

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for council

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Council.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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
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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