counsel

noun
coun·sel | \ ˈkau̇n(t)-səl \

Definition of counsel 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : advice given especially as a result of consultation He was unwise to reject my counsel.

b : a policy or plan of action or behavior

3a archaic : purpose

b : guarded thoughts or intentions He was chary and given to keeping his own counsel.

4a plural counsel

(1) : a lawyer engaged in the trial or management of a case in court

(2) : a lawyer appointed to advise and represent in legal matters an individual client or a corporate and especially a public body

b : consultant sense 2

counsel

verb
coun·sel | \ ˈkau̇n(t)-səl \
counseled or counselled; counseling or counselling\ˈkau̇n(t)-s(ə-)liŋ \

Definition of counsel (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: advise counselled them to avoid rash actions … —George Orwell

intransitive verb

: consult counseled with her husband

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for counsel

Synonyms: Noun

admonishment, admonition, advice, guidance, input

Synonyms: Verb

adjure, admonish, advise

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of counsel in a Sentence

Noun

We seek counsel from the rich and powerful to learn their secret … —Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly, 13 Feb. 2004 God had done a poor job, and Soaphead suspected that he himself could have done better. It was in fact a pity that the Maker had not sought his counsel. —Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, (1970) 1994 No matter how much time he is given, counsel would always like more, but the Chief Justice will not grant an extra minute unless the lawyer is responding to a question from the bench. —Robert H. Bork, The Tempting Of America, 1990 Counsel were to be employed.  … And when the matter had been decided by the lawyers, Lord Fawn was to express his regret for having suspected his lady-love! —Anthony Trollope, The Eustace Diamonds, 1871 You were unwise to reject my counsel. The student sought counsel from her teacher. She is serving as counsel for the defendant. All counsel are expected to obey the rules of the court.

Verb

He balked at authority and, according to Mr. Green, tuned you out if you tried to counsel him. —David Grann, New Republic, 14 Feb. 2000 She had six children, whom she counseled and with great wisdom and patience. —Erma Bombeck, The Best of Bombeck, (1965) 1967 I had counselled Catherine to dine upstairs, but as soon as he perceived her vacant seat he sent me to call her. —Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, 1847 He counsels people who are trying to quit drinking. concerned parents counseling about the problem of substance abuse in their community
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The indictment stands as special counsel Robert Mueller’s first allegation implicating the Russian government directly in criminal behavior meant to sway the presidential election. Eric Tucker, BostonGlobe.com, "Moscow accused of US election meddling in indictment," 13 July 2018 But according to criminal charges filed Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller, Guccifer 2.0 was actually operated by a group of Russian military intelligence officers based in Moscow. Rosalind S. Helderman And Manuel Roig-franzia, chicagotribune.com, "Charges against Russian officers intensify spotlight on Trump adviser Stone," 13 July 2018 NBC News reported in March that special counsel Robert Mueller was assembling a case against the Russians who carried out the hacking and leaking operation aimed at Democrats. Ken Dilanian /, NBC News, "The timing, the proof, the details: Takeaways from Mueller's new indictments," 13 July 2018 The special counsel’s office has not cited him as a witness in court papers so far. Chris Megerian, latimes.com, "Judge again delays sentencing for Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security advisor," 10 July 2018 That view has particular relevance as special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign played any role in a foreign interference plot. Catherine Lucey, Zeke Miller And Mark Sherman, Houston Chronicle, "Trump picks Kavanaugh for court, setting up fight with Dems," 10 July 2018 But, her remarks came after extensive arguments from attorney Deborah Caplan, who was hired as outside counsel by the city along with her firm Olson Hagel & Fishburn. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Judge needs more time to review SDSU West's stadium ballot initiative," 6 July 2018 Yet Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to Bill Clinton, dismissed the notion that Mueller is worried. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "Is Mueller’s Team Worried that Trump’s Strategy Is Working?," 22 June 2018 Views are becoming more polarized on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "MU Poll: Tammy Baldwin leads Republican challengers Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson in Wisconsin U.S. Senate race," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some Mormons have expressed dismay that they were counseled to stay in abusive relationships or keep matters in house. Brady Mccombs, Fox News, "Woman says Mormon church failed to report dad's sexual abuse," 28 June 2018 Banner said the officers identified by Anders were verbally counseled not to do it again. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Records: State Police captain's friendship with towing boss under investigation," 19 June 2018 But there are other options, says Casey Near, senior director of Collegewise, a company that counsels students on choosing colleges. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, "How to Save Money on College Tours," 31 May 2018 As an online community, a range of subjects are discussed in the Facebook group and its forum, from mothers sharing prom photos of their children to counseling one another through more tragic events like depression and suicide. Kevin Truong /, NBC News, "'Mama Dragons': Mormon mom group provides support to LGBTQ kids — and each other," 12 May 2018 Players were counseled by police officers, FBI agents and NBA representatives, Bird said at the time. Jenny Green, Indianapolis Star, "4 stunning ways today’s Pacers are different from 10 years ago," 28 Feb. 2018 The Illinois Comptroller's Office had information about a Smart Business Illinois program that counsels business owners and offers development workshops, resources and support for small and minority-owned businesses. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora event reaches out to female veterans, and those in need," 22 May 2018 In his role as a deacon, Beckendorf and his wife have counseled couples who are facing marital problems or struggling with the demands of modern-day life. Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com, "Biting the bullet of faith: Deacon Eddy's story," 1 Apr. 2018 While in Sacramento, Graham, who during his career counseled U.S. presidents ranging from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, found time to meet with then-Gov. Stephen Magagnini, sacbee, "Remembering Billy Graham and the huge crowds he once drew in Sacramento | The Sacramento Bee," 22 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counsel.' 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 counsel

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for counsel

Noun

Middle English conseil, from Anglo-French cunseil, from Latin consilium, from consulere to consult

Verb

see counsel entry 1

Noun

Old French conseil advice, from Latin consilium discussion, advice, council, from consulere to consult

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about counsel

Phrases Related to counsel

marriage counseling

Statistics for counsel

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for counsel

The first known use of counsel was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for counsel

counsel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of counsel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: advice given to someone

law : a lawyer who represents a person or group in a court of law

counsel

verb

English Language Learners Definition of counsel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give advice to (someone)

: to listen to and give support or advice to (someone) especially as a job

: to suggest or recommend (something)

counsel

noun
coun·sel | \ ˈkau̇n-səl \

Kids Definition of counsel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : advice given My grandfather's counsel was to be patient.

2 plural counsel : a lawyer representing someone in court

counsel

verb
counseled or counselled; counseling or counselling

Kids Definition of counsel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give advice to : advise She counseled him to study harder.

2 : to suggest or recommend The doctor counseled rest.

counsel

noun
coun·sel | \ ˈkau̇n(t)-səl \

Medical Definition of counsel 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: advice given especially as a result of consultation

counsel

transitive verb
counseled or counselled; counseling or counselling\-s(ə-)liŋ \

Medical Definition of counsel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to advise especially seriously and formally after consultation

Keep scrolling for more

counsel

noun
coun·sel | \ ˈkau̇n-səl \
plural counsel

Legal Definition of counsel 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: lawyer: as

a : a lawyer participating in the management or trial of a case in court …to have the assistance of counsel for his defenseU.S. Constitution amend. VI a right to counsel

b : a lawyer appointed or engaged to advise or represent a client in legal matters (as negotiations or the drafting of documents) — compare attorney

Note: A judge who has acted as counsel in a matter (as by advising an investigator) is disqualified from hearing the case.

of counsel

1 : assisting another lawyer in a case was attorney of counsel

2 : employed on a part-time basis a tax attorney will move also and become of counselNational Law Journal

counsel

transitive verb
counseled or counselled; counseling or counselling

Legal Definition of counsel (Entry 2 of 2)

: advise

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on counsel

What made you want to look up counsel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!