counsel

noun
coun·​sel | \ ˈkau̇n(t)-səl How to pronounce counsel (audio) \

Definition of counsel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

counsel

verb
coun·​sel | \ ˈkau̇n(t)-səl How to pronounce counsel (audio) \
counseled or counselled; counseling or counselling\ ˈkau̇n(t)-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce counselling (audio) \

Definition of counsel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: consult counseled with her husband

Keep scrolling 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 Giuliani said his effort started long before Biden was a candidate and while the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was still underway. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Trump denies sending Giuliani to Ukraine to pressure officials on investigations," 27 Nov. 2019 La Tasha Buckner, an assistant deputy attorney general who leads the office's civil division, was named the general counsel of Beshear's office. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "Gov.-elect Andy Beshear fills four top positions, including secretary of executive cabinet," 21 Nov. 2019 Another presenter will be the general counsel to the UW system, Quinn Williams. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "NSF unwittingly hired a professor guilty of bullying, highlighting the ‘pass the harasser’ problem," 18 Nov. 2019 He was convicted on Friday of witness tampering and making false statements to the House Intelligence Committee, on an indictment obtained earlier this year by the office of the special counsel Robert Mueller. Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker, "Roger Stone’s Crimes," 15 Nov. 2019 Trump’s decision in May 2017 to fire Comey, who was leading an investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, set off a firestorm that led to the appointment of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump has considered firing intelligence community inspector general - The Boston Globe," 13 Nov. 2019 In Connecticut, he was appointed general counsel to former Dannel P. Malloy, then joined the law firm Hinckley Allen. Rebecca Lurye, courant.com, "Here’s everyone running for office in Hartford tomorrow," 4 Nov. 2019 The special counsel investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 vote produced indictments of more than a dozen foreign nationals. Jessica Huseman, ProPublica, "The Market for Voting Machines Is Broken. This Company Has Thrived in It.," 28 Oct. 2019 But the lawyers spent much of the interview talking about one of their favorite topics: the alleged abuses of the special counsel’s office. Simon Shuster, Time, "Exclusive: How a Ukrainian Oligarch Wanted by U.S. Authorities Helped Giuliani Attack Biden," 15 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The findings mean that screening household members for substance use and counseling parents on the risks of smoking pot could help break the cycle of multi-generational substance use. Alexi Cohan, chicagotribune.com, "Parents’ marijuana use associated with substance use in their kids, study says," 25 Nov. 2019 The district also closed Northwest High School on Friday and offered students counseling through the Children's Home of Cincinnati. Segann March, Cincinnati.com, "Northwest district closing schools Tuesday for staff safety training in wake of shooting," 25 Nov. 2019 Those others included Peter Magowan, a former Safeway executive who became beloved as the public face of the Giants, and Bill Neukom, an accomplished lawyer who worked with Bill Gates’ father, and later counseled his son. Al Saracevic, SFChronicle.com, "Who’s in charge of the San Francisco Giants? We finally know," 22 Nov. 2019 Forthan went back to college and eventually returned to the treatment facility to counsel other addicts. oregonlive, "Volunteers of America Oregon scholarship helps kids escape shadow of substance abuse: Season of Sharing 2019," 12 Nov. 2019 His journey mirrors those of the men and women Caldera has counseled for more than 30 years. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "Vietnam veteran counsels San Antonio military veterans and invests in old West Side neighborhood," 11 Nov. 2019 ARC-Southeast has found rooms for homeless women who would otherwise have spent the night outside the clinic, and counselled mothers and daughters who needed abortions at the same time. Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker, "Fighting for Abortion Access in the South," 7 Oct. 2019 The combative attorney Roy Cohn counseled them both. Allan Smith, NBC News, "All the president's Yankees: How Trump's decadeslong affair with the team foreshadowed his presidency," 19 Oct. 2019 Even campaigners for shorter working hours counseled caution. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "The UK’s opposition party says it will introduce a 4-day week for the entire country," 23 Sep. 2019

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 and Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about counsel

Time Traveler for counsel

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for counsel

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Counsel.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/counsels. Accessed 7 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for counsel

counsel

noun
How to pronounce counsel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of counsel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : advice given to someone
law : a lawyer who represents a person or group in a court of law

counsel

verb
How to pronounce counsel (audio)

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

formal
: 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 How to pronounce counsel (audio) \

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 How to pronounce counsel (audio) \

Medical Definition of counsel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: advice given especially as a result of consultation
counseled or counselled; counseling or counselling\ -​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce counselling (audio) \

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 How to pronounce counsel (audio) \
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
counseled or counselled; counseling or counselling

Legal Definition of counsel (Entry 2 of 2)

History and Etymology for counsel

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on counsel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for counsel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with counsel

Spanish Central: Translation of counsel

Nglish: Translation of counsel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of counsel for Arabic Speakers

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

the study of flags

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!