noun, often attributive
\ˈkȯrt \

Definition of court 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the residence or establishment of a sovereign or similar dignitary riding to the king's court

b : a sovereign's formal assembly of councillors and officers The king held a general court.

c : the sovereign and officers and advisers who are the governing power The court has decided against the alliance.

d : the family and retinue of a sovereign The court enjoyed the tournament.

e : a reception held by a sovereign

2a(1) : a manor house or large building surrounded by usually enclosed grounds Hampton Court

(2) : motel

b : an open space enclosed wholly or partly by buildings or circumscribed by a single building the court at the center of the palace

c : a quadrangular space walled or marked off for playing one of various games with a ball (such as tennis, handball, or basketball) also : a division of such a court

d : a wide alley with only one opening onto a street

3a : an official assembly for the transaction of judicial business

b : a session of such a court The court is now adjourned.

c : a place (such as a chamber) for the administration of justice sat quietly in the back of the court

d : a judge or judges in session also : a faculty or agency of judgment or evaluation … rest our case in the court of world opinion … — Leonard H. Marks

4a : an assembly or board with legislative or administrative powers

b : parliament, legislature

5 : conduct or attention intended to win favor or dispel hostility : homage pay court to the king


courted; courting; courts

Definition of court (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to seek to gain or achieve court power

b(1) : allure, tempt mountain streams courting the fishermen

(2) : to act so as to invite or provoke courts disaster

2a : to seek the affections of especially : to seek to win a pledge of marriage from

b of an animal : to perform actions in order to attract for mating a male bird courting a female

3a : to seek to attract (as by solicitous attention or offers of advantages) college teams courting high school basketball stars Both candidates were courting the independent voters.

b : to seek an alliance with

intransitive verb

1 : to engage in social activities leading to engagement and marriage

2 of an animal : to engage in activity leading to mating a pair of robins courting in the trees

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Synonyms for court

Synonyms: Noun

close, courtyard, enclosure (also inclosure), patio, quad, quadrangle, yard

Synonyms: Verb


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Examples of court in a Sentence


Court is now in session. Court is adjourned for the day. There was a large group of protesters outside the court. a lawyer who has appeared in courts around the country The case is before the state's highest court. She's a judge on an appellate court. The prosecution has new evidence to submit to the court. Please explain to the court what happened that night. The court ruled the law unconstitutional. The court reversed the lower court's decision.


The couple courted for two years before marrying. He was courting his college sweetheart. a pair of robins courting The male will sometimes court the female for hours. college teams courting high school basketball stars The speech was clearly intended to court middle-class voters.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One of Canada’s red lines was the preservation of NAFTA’s Chapter 19, which set up an independent mechanism to resolve special trade disputes between the countries (rather than trying to fight it out in domestic courts). Jen Kirby, Vox, "The three countries signed the deal at the G20 on Friday.," 30 Nov. 2018 Measuring 90 by 120 feet, this model is about the size of two basketball courts, the contours of the landscape laser-etched into 216 panels of white high-density foam. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 Bill Campbell's Ash is extra hammy as the obnoxious chainsaw-for-a-hand anti-hero battling demons while stuck in King Arthur’s court. Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 29 Oct. 2018 Monday's decision also follows an earlier ruling from a U.S. bankruptcy court judge who ordered Avenatti's former firm to pay $10 million to Frank. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Michael Avenatti ordered by judge to hand over $4.85 million in back pay to attorney at his former law firm," 23 Oct. 2018 The house has two dining spaces, a den, tennis courts, and a carriage house. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Scarlett Johansson Just Bought A New House In New York, And It's Stunning," 12 Oct. 2018 Bankruptcy court filings obtained by CNN Money on Wednesday showed the owners of the company's remaining assets are looking to revive the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands after the beloved toy store filed for bankruptcy in September 2017. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "Will Toys R Us Reopen? An Expert Weighs In on the Future of the Company," 3 Oct. 2018 The sergeant responsible was found guilty by court-martial. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Air Force Accidentally Drops Humvee on Civilian Neighborhood," 25 Oct. 2018 In her nine years on the court, Sotomayor has authored over 150 decisions. Marilyn La Jeunesse, Teen Vogue, "Sonia Sotomayor's Tenure as a Supreme Court Justice Makes Latinx Law Students Hopeful for the Future," 12 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Global banks have been courting the Saudi government and its 33-year old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the public face of the kingdom’s effort to establish itself as a financial and investing hub. Margot Patrick And Jenny Strasburg, WSJ, "European Bank Officials Pull Out of Saudi Conference," 16 Oct. 2018 Nike has been courting fashion for the past decade, starting with collaborations with Riccardo Tisci, Virgil Abloh, Kim Jones, Jun Takahashi, John Elliott, and Matthew Williams. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Nike Announces Collaborations with Martine Rose, Ambush’s Yoon, and Sarah Andelman," 29 Sep. 2018 For months, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy from California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana have been courting support from congressional allies. Tina Nguyen, The Hive, "Paul Ryan Joins G.O.P. Retreat, Abandons Run in 2018," 11 Apr. 2018 Cambridge began courting the Trump campaign early on, making at least three unsuccessful overtures in early 2015 and 2016, according to a source familiar with the conversations. Maeve Reston, CNN, "Inside the Trump campaign's ties with Cambridge Analytica," 21 Mar. 2018 Really, with all of the talent being courted for the project, there's no wrong combination of actors and characters in this lineup. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Emma Watson Is Replacing Emma Stone in Greta Gerwig's 'Little Women'," 25 Aug. 2018 And as activists, organizers, and political obsessives from around the country gather, they’ll be courted by a series of 2020 hopefuls, including Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Netroots Nation, explained," 2 Aug. 2018 In addition to being recruited by several basketball powers, Metu also was courted by Harvard. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Nigerian childhood paved way for Metu’s NBA journey," 26 June 2018 Pitching against one of the teams that courted him this past winter — and Seattle, at one time, was considered a frontrunner — the rookie produced six sterling innings Sunday as the Angels beat the Mariners 8-2. Jeff Miller,, "Angels' Shohei Ohtani shows Mariners what he's all about with another strong pitching performance in 8-2 win," 7 May 2018

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


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for court


Middle English, from Anglo-French curt, court, from Latin cohort-, cohors enclosure, group, retinue, cohort, from co- + -hort-, -hors (akin to hortus garden) — more at yard

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Statistics for court

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for court

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

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More Definitions for court



English Language Learners Definition of court

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a formal legal meeting in which evidence about crimes, disagreements, etc., is presented to a judge and often a jury so that decisions can be made according to the law

: a place where legal cases are heard

: an official group of people (such as a judge and jury) who listen to evidence and make decisions about legal cases



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

: to act in a way that shows that you want or intend to get married

of an animal : to perform the actions that lead to sexual activity

: to give a lot of attention and praise to (someone) in order to get approval, support, etc.


\ˈkȯrt \

Kids Definition of court

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a space arranged for playing a certain game tennis court basketball court

2 : an official meeting led by a judge for settling legal questions or the place where it is held

3 : a judge or the judges presiding in a courtroom The court decides issues of law.

4 : the home of a ruler (as a king)

5 : a ruler's assembly of advisers and officers as a governing power

6 : the family and people who follow a ruler

7 : an open space completely or partly surrounded by buildings

8 : a short street

9 : respect meant to win favor Pay court to the king.


courted; courting

Kids Definition of court (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to seek the love or companionship of

2 : to try to gain or get the support of : seek Both candidates courted new voters.

3 : to seem to be asking for : tempt You're courting trouble by not fixing your car.


\ˈkōrt \

Legal Definition of court 

1a : an official assembly for the administration of justice : a unit of the judicial branch of government the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establishU.S. Constitution art. III

b : a session of such a court

c usually capitalized : the Supreme Court of the United States

2 : a place (as a building, hall, or room) for the administration of justice order in the court

3 : a judge or judges acting in official capacity an issue to be decided by the court the court may neither preside at nor attend the meeting of creditors— J. H. Williamson

4 usually capitalized : a legislative body the General Court of Massachusetts

5 : a body (as the International Court of Justice) exercising judicial powers over its members or the members of a body represented by it an ecclesiastical court

out of court

: without a court hearing : by private arrangement settled out of court

History and Etymology for court

Old French, enclosed space, royal entourage, court of justice, from Latin cohort-, cohors farmyard, armed force, retinue

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More from Merriam-Webster on court

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with court

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for court

Spanish Central: Translation of court

Nglish: Translation of court for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of court for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about court

Comments on court

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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