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

Discussions will continue in October in order to allow time for council members to do further research. Beth Mlady,, "Brook Park considers creating city technology commission," 29 Aug. 2019 Four of the five current council members are Vietnamese Americans, in a city of 98,000 that is of more than 50% Vietnamese ancestry. Los Angeles Times, "Could verbal brawls and rants ruin Westminster’s Vietnamese American council majority?," 28 Aug. 2019 The council members voted 4-1 to more than double the number of cultivation business licenses issued by the city, from five to 12. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Oceanside to place cannabis tax on ballot," 27 Aug. 2019 Witt and the council members also sought guidance from City Manager Joseph Helfenberger. Ars Technica, "The Extortion Economy: Insurance companies and the rise in ransomware attacks," 27 Aug. 2019 For the last eight months, however, Twitter has largely checked out, according to some council members. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Twitter Trust and Safety Advisers Say They’re Being Ignored," 23 Aug. 2019 Each council member is given $1 million in discretionary funds for roads in their districts. Sarah Ravani,, "Oakland kicks off ‘Great Pave’ with fresh asphalt for Fruitvale side street," 22 Aug. 2019 The majority of council members voted to shut down any further discussion of just cause for evictions or rent stabilization. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Do lobby groups hold more sway in Concord than residents?," 21 Aug. 2019 The coalition aimed to win over all 15 council members, especially in conservative areas. Sheila Mcclear, The New Republic, "The Future For Labor," 20 Aug. 2019

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

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Statistics for council

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

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
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).


concealment of treason or felony

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