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

In immigration proceedings, children are often left to fend for themselves: One-year-old toddlers have landed in court. Sarah Kinosian, Teen Vogue, "Reunification Proves Complicated for Families Separated at the U.S.-Mexico Border," 14 July 2018 In court on Thursday for Chamberlain’s resentencing, Ahmad described the impact of the killing: devastation. Samantha Melamed,, "After 26 years working with at-risk teens, can a Philly couple forgive the one who killed their son?," 13 July 2018 To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW In court Thursday, the bearded, glass-wearing A’Hearn looked much different than the bald-shaven, smug youth who was arrested in February 2017. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, "S.A. man who carjacked and shot postal worker gets 20 years for crime spree," 12 July 2018 The open letter was posted online after the law school, currently ranked number-one in the country by U.S. News & World Report, published a press release with quotes from faculty praising the 53-year-old federal appeals court judge. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Yale Law Students and Alumni Denounce School's Support of Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 But the only way to dispute these tickets is to do so in court, which is inconvenient at best, and impossible for many people. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Driving Without a Smartphone," 10 July 2018 In addition to his agency’s loss of legal challenges in court, some of Pruitt’s endeavors at the EPA could be overturned under another administration. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Scott Pruitt is leaving behind a toxic mess at the EPA," 6 July 2018 Though a judge ruled Carolyn’s testimony inadmissible in court, her husband and Milam were quickly acquitted. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "The Justice Department Has Reopened Its Investigation into the Murder of Emmett Till," 12 July 2018 The Opal Cliffs Recreation District withdrew an application Wednesday with the California Coastal Commission to amend its permit to allow the gate and fee, but its representative, Mark Massara, said the district will fight in court if necessary. Peter Fimrite,, "Fight brewing over Privates Beach in Santa Cruz County, which charges $100 yearly fee," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The administration and the unions have courted Capitol Hill allies, with Republicans supporting Trump's tactics and Democrats backing the unions, a key constituency. Lisa Rein, Anchorage Daily News, "New curbs on federal unions begin to take effect," 9 July 2018 Some banks are pretty aggressive in courting new customers. Sean P. Murphy,, "Pay attention to the tiny type when opening — and closing — a money market account," 4 July 2018 He has also courted right-wing religious leaders, some with past links to the Afghan Taliban. Ismail Dilawar,, "Ex-Cricketer Imran Khan Woos Pakistan's Turncoat Politicians," 6 June 2018 The '40s pinup bombshell has courted glitterati, booked a campaign for Bettie Page Lingerie and walked in London Fashion Week in the last year alone. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "'RuPaul's Drag Race' drag queens coming to Phoenix," 6 June 2018 The government has also actively courted developers of large-scale resorts for its coastal regions in a bid to avoid piecemeal construction, according to Savills. Isobel Lee, WSJ, "Business-Friendly Government Boosts Resort Business in Montenegro," 5 June 2018 Microsoft has been actively courting open-source projects and developers in the Nadella era, as the company realigns itself towards a future where the Azure cloud becomes a crown jewel and the world becomes less Windows-centric. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Microsoft buys GitHub for $7.5 billion, promises to keep it independent and open," 4 June 2018 France’s growing success in courting U.S. tech jobs highlights President Donald Trump’s fraught relationship with Silicon Valley. Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, "Why the Tech Industry's Cool Relationship With Trump May Be Good for the Rest of the World," 24 May 2018 To San Antonio’s credit, Bravo said, the city has been aggressive in courting Mexican travel with special discounts and good-will trips to Mexican cities. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "Data shows Mexican spending for Semana Santa holy week down significantly since 2012," 6 Apr. 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

10 Oct 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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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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