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



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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Synonyms for council

Synonyms: Noun

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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 The mansion tax may take the form of an annual levy on expensive homes or a higher council tax band. The Economist, "Why Britain’s Conservative government is shifting leftward," 15 Feb. 2020 Except there’s nothing there aside from council, board and commission meetings. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "Dallas is creating an $11 million broadcast studio at Fair Park. Now it has to figure out why.," 14 Feb. 2020 Smart Streets finally passed the once-recalcitrant council. Trip Gabriel, New York Times, "What Being a Mayor Taught Pete Buttigieg," 14 Feb. 2020 Sudan’s interim ruling council, composed of civilian and military officials, is now seeking to shake off decades of diplomatic and economic isolation. Abdi Latif Dahir,, "Sudan says it agrees to compensate families of USS Cole bombing," 13 Feb. 2020 News of the allegations led Metro Councilman Anthony Piagentini, R-19th District, to call for a full council investigation. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "TARC chief Ferdinand Risco Jr. resigns amid sexual 'quid pro quo' allegations," 12 Feb. 2020 Urs Schmid is president of the ADIT (Asociación de Desarrollo Integral of Tamarindo, the local business council). Nicolas Stecher, Billboard, "The Battle of Tamarindo: How Two Dance Music Festivals Are Vying For the Same Costa Rican Beach Town," 11 Feb. 2020 This change to the code allowing pit bulls to be licensed passed council on a 7-4 vote. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "The Denver City Council just voted to end the city's 30-year ban on pit bulls," 11 Feb. 2020 Two labor unions–the AFL-CIO and the Communication Workers of America–have also recently launched veterans councils. Jasper Craven, The New Republic, "Pete Buttigieg and the Democrats’ Veteran Problem," 11 Feb. 2020 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

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Council.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for council


How to pronounce council (audio)

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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