court

1 of 2

noun

plural courts
often attributive
1
a
: 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
2
a(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
3
a
: 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
4
a
: 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

court

2 of 2

verb

courted; courting; courts

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
After spending decades as a cable repairman, Gonzalez began working in law enforcement in 2015 as a reserve Orange County deputy, his family said in court filings. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 17 Apr. 2024 The court found the assertion that Farrakhan is antisemitic are not verifiable. Jack Greiner, The Enquirer, 17 Apr. 2024 Hill’s victims were each out thousands or even millions of dollars, according to court documents. Jason Green, The Mercury News, 17 Apr. 2024 Desiree Figueroa has not been sentenced, but was slated to appear in court for a hearing on her case Wednesday. USA TODAY, 17 Apr. 2024 State law allows challenges of the signatures in court. Maritza Dominguez, The Arizona Republic, 17 Apr. 2024 When the Ugandan government passed an aggressive anti-gay law last year, Frank and his allies immediately challenged it in court. TIME, 17 Apr. 2024 After a long two days of court naps and having to sit through mean memes, Donald Trump took to Truth Social to throw a tantrum. Charisma Madarang, Rolling Stone, 17 Apr. 2024 That civil order was issued after Yang used investment funds to finance her lifestyle − including casino gambling, luxury cars, and trips to Hawaii, Thailand, Cancun and Las Vegas, according to court documents. Tom Daykin, Journal Sentinel, 17 Apr. 2024
Verb
For instance, Xi last week hosted American CEOs in Beijing to court them on investing in China. Fatima Hussein, Fortune, 4 Apr. 2024 The division, thanks to Stuber, was able to court top filmmaking talent. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Apr. 2024 On a trip to San Juan last week also aimed at courting the 5.9 million Puerto Rican Latinos who live in the mainland United States, Harris' arrival at a community center to celebrate the Caribbean island's culture was shouted down by demonstrators. Trevor Hunnicutt, USA TODAY, 30 Mar. 2024 The group has been courting potential candidates with no luck. Molly Beck, Journal Sentinel, 28 Mar. 2024 By contrast, the DeSantis campaign spurned the traditional press, both publicly and privately, and instead courted conservative influencers. Clare Malone, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 The enthusiastic early adopters have already bought in, and the market hasn’t been very successful at courting traditional gas car buyers. Bradley Brownell / Jalopnik, Quartz, 18 Mar. 2024 Biden courts Latino voters and presses housing affordability, manufacturing in Nevada and Arizona. Anthony De Leon, Los Angeles Times, 21 Mar. 2024 While the streaming film (and a subsequent documentary about its creation) made headlines and courted viewer eyeballs according to Amazon streaming lists, This Is Me... Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 13 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'court.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near court

Cite this Entry

“Court.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/court. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

court

1 of 2 noun
ˈkō(ə)rt How to pronounce court (audio)
ˈkȯ(ə)rt
1
a
: the residence of a ruler and especially a king or queen
b
: a ruler's formal assembly of advisers and officers as a governing body
c
: the family and followers of a ruler
2
a
: an open space completely or partly surrounded by buildings
b
: a space for playing a ball game
a tennis court
c
: a wide alley with only one opening onto a street
3
a
: an assembly for carrying out judicial business
b
: a session of a judicial assembly
court is now adjourned
c
: a building or room where legal cases are heard
d
: a judge in session
4
: attention designed to win favor
pay court to the king

court

2 of 2 verb
1
a
: to try to gain
court favor
b
: to act so as to invite or provoke
court disaster
2
: to seek the affections or favor of
the candidate courted the voters
3
a
: to engage in a social relationship usually leading to marriage
b
: to engage in activity leading to mating
a pair of robins courting

Legal Definition

court

noun
1
a
: 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 creditorsJ. 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
Etymology

Noun

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

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