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

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
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

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 site, according to court documents, was registered by NameCheap Inc., based in Phoenix. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Fraud follows coronavirus spread; fake vaccines, testing, investment scams are exacting a toll," 4 Apr. 2020 The prosecutor charged a 36-year-old man with violating the order in addition to operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resisting law enforcement and other charges, according to court documents. Ethan May, Indianapolis Star, "How police, prosecutors decide whether to cite for violating Indiana's stay-at-home order," 3 Apr. 2020 Gentry denied almost all charges, according to court documents. Julia Fair,, "Judge Gentry: Misconduct hearing rescheduled for August due to COVID-19 pandemic," 3 Apr. 2020 According to court documents, the company plans to reopen 125 locations and permanently close the other half. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "Old Chicago, Gordon Biersch parent company cuts 18,000 furloughed employees," 3 Apr. 2020 Many application centers—including libraries, clerks of court, and post offices—are not currently accepting applications due to the coronavirus outbreak. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "The U.S. Is Only Issuing New Passports in Emergency Cases Amid Coronavirus," 3 Apr. 2020 An address for Olsen was not listed in court documents. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Charges filed in March 26 homicide in Milwaukee's Harambee neighborhood," 2 Apr. 2020 After court documents revealed U.S. Soccer argued that biological differences justify the pay discrepancy between the men and the women, federation president Carlos Cordeiro resigned. Jenny Mccoy, Glamour, "13 Times Women In Sports Fought for Equality," 1 Apr. 2020 Facilities in Miami and Reno, Nev., brought in bids of $16.5 million and $2.1 million, respectively, according to bankruptcy court documents. Dallas News, "Bankrupt milk producer Dean Foods finds buyers for ‘substantially all’ of its processing plants," 31 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And what lies ahead for this danger-courting duo, especially with Lalo hell-bent on revenge for that failed assassination attempt at the end of the finale? Dan Snierson,, "Better Call Saul finale: Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn break down Kim's shocking pitch to Jimmy," 21 Apr. 2020 The world's largest social networking app first entered the courting space in 2019 with the launch of a dating section on the app. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Facebook's new Tuned messaging app is for couples only," 9 Apr. 2020 The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Nevada is finally getting attention from Democratic presidential candidates who want to court the rapidly increasing population. NBC News, "Democratic outreach to Nevada AAPIs lagging, some say, though group has grown 167% in 10 years," 22 Feb. 2020 One difference: the new gatekeeper had spent a year courting the community. Andrea Gabor, Harper's magazine, "The K-12 Takeover," 28 Oct. 2019 Antonio Brown has found empathy from a controversy-courting former NFL star: Terrell Owens. Fox News, "Antonio Brown finds support from Terrell Owens: 'I would love to talk to him'," 23 Sep. 2019 The two receivers familiar with courting headlines shared a few words., "Most read on," 15 Sep. 2019 The event is part of a two-day presidential visit to India as Trump courts New Delhi in a bid to crack its strongly protectionist markets, woo Indian American voters in the U.S. and develop a counterweight to an increasingly assertive China. NBC News, "India welcomes Trump, Biden gets double boost ahead of South Carolina and Kobe Bryant's memorial: The Morning Rundown," 24 Feb. 2020 Efforts to gain personal notoriety' Arias' lawyers also accused Martinez of courting the media, and cited that as one of the examples of prosecutorial misconduct. Lauren Castle, USA TODAY, "Jodi Arias won't get new trial, despite prosecutor Juan Martinez's 'egregious' court behavior," 25 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for court

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for court

Last Updated

10 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Court.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for court


How to pronounce court (audio)

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)

somewhat old-fashioned : 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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on court

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for court

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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