noun, often attributive
\ ˈkȯrt How to pronounce court (audio) \
plural courts

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 — see also court-packing, pack the court
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 — see also take to 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
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

Synonyms for court

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of court in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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 The Geno Auriemma-Muffet McGraw rivalry may be over on the court, but that didn’t stop the two legendary coaches from trading jabs. Alexa Philippou,, 3 Jan. 2022 Fellow superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden can’t wait to have Irving back on the court. Adam Zagoria, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2022 The Cyclones, meanwhile, slip three places to No. 11. Duke, which has no play played since Dec. 22 and hopes to get back on the court this week following a COVID-19 pause, retains the No. 2 ranking. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, 3 Jan. 2022 In Love’s 29 minutes on the court, the Cavs outscored the Pacers by 13 points. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 3 Jan. 2022 But while that meant no switching, that zone box had big, big, big holes nearly everywhere on the court. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Jan. 2022 On the court, 2021 was one of the greatest in the history of the Milwaukee Bucks organization. Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 Jan. 2022 Grizzlies point guard Tyus Jones came out ahead against his younger brother in their first time together on the court in a game that wasn’t already decided. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, 1 Jan. 2022 The Trail Blazers underwhelmed on the court and were riddled with drama off of it. oregonlive, 31 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Manchin has been coy about his views of this proposal, despite months of efforts by Biden and his team to court the West Virginia Democrat to back a pared back plan. Manu Raju, CNN, 1 Nov. 2021 The rhetorical question, Kawakami’s preferred device for showing thought leaping into action, can court faux profundity. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 As growth has slowed in mainland China, iQiyi has made aggressive moves to court new subscribers overseas, especially in Southeast Asia. Vivienne Chow, Variety, 2 Nov. 2021 Do studios and publicists care enough about the 2022 Globes to once again court the HFPA so soon after scandal? Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021 First serving as chief administrative officer, then promoted to CEO of the airport in 2011, McGraw sought to move on from CVG’s historic reliance on one dominant carrier and pushed hard to court low-cost carriers that previously avoided the airport. Alexander Coolidge, The Enquirer, 14 Oct. 2021 Here's the bottom line: airlines do not court unruly passenger behavior. John Cox, USA TODAY, 7 Oct. 2021 During the Donald Trump years, Facebook became a punching bag for the right, despite Zuckerberg’s personal efforts to court Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2021 This bet paid off in Paris, but won’t be easily replicated when trying to court the entire country. Camille Squires, Quartz, 15 Sep. 2021

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 1b


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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Time Traveler for court

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near court

coursing joint


court appearance

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Statistics for court

Last Updated

7 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Court.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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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
: 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 How to pronounce court (audio) \

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 How to pronounce court (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on court

Nglish: Translation of court for Spanish Speakers

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


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