mag·is·trate | \ ˈma-jə-ˌstrāt , -strət \

Definition of magistrate 

: an official entrusted with administration of the laws: such as

a : a principal official exercising governmental powers over a major political unit (such as a nation)

b : a local official exercising administrative and often judicial functions

c : a local judiciary official having limited original jurisdiction (see jurisdiction sense 1) especially in criminal cases

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Other words from magistrate

magistratical \ˌma-jə-ˈstra-ti-kəl \ adjective

Synonyms for magistrate


adjudicator, bench, court, judge, jurist, justice

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Examples of magistrate in a Sentence

chose to take their case before the local magistrate

Recent Examples on the Web

The magistrate, however, continued to impose strict conditions, saying Santana could only join the concerts by car, and only while accompanied by his mother. Jan Hefler,, "Rapper Juelz Santana ordered to get anger management assessment while on house arrest for gun charges," 2 July 2018 The circuit court has added three new judges and one magistrate in the past three years, but the number of deputies did not increase, analysts wrote in the report. Alison Knezevich,, "Sheriff's deputies in dispute with Baltimore County over wages, staffing, guns and vehicles," 18 June 2018 The magistrate, Giacomo Gasparini, rejected Getty’s appeal against an order of confiscation that was issued by an Italian court in 2010 and upheld by another Italian court in 2012. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "The Getty Is Fighting to Keep a Rare Greek Bronze," 16 June 2018 Retanio Rucker, a juvenile court magistrate, captured just 10 percent of the vote. Adam Ferrise,, "Teen girl fights off kidnapper while walking home in Linndale, police say," 8 May 2018 Zama is a magistrate, a servant of the Old World born in the New, now separated from his wife and children in a dead-end backwater somewhere along the Paraguay River. Justin Chang,, "Lucrecia Martel's 'Zama' is a feverishly brilliant tale of European colonialism and its discontents," 26 Apr. 2018 The operation was the latest move to root out Denaro, 55, who has long evaded arrest for his role in the bombing assassination of magistrates in the 1990s, along with other Mafia hits and crimes. Fox News, "Italy: police arrest 22 in search for Mafia fugitive Denaro," 19 Apr. 2018 The 76-year-old Cardinal, who stood aside from his senior post in Rome when he was charged in June last year, will not hear a final decision from the magistrate on whether the case will proceed to trial for up to two weeks, possibly longer. Lucie Morris-marr, CNN, "Vatican treasurer Cardinal Pell faces final week of historical abuse hearing," 25 Mar. 2018 In 1795, a group of magistrates gathered in the English village of Speenhamland to try to solve a social crisis brought on by the rising price of grain. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "Who Really Stands to Win from Universal Basic Income?," 24 Mar. 2014

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for magistrate

Middle English magestrat, from Latin magistratus magistracy, magistrate, from magistr-, magister master, political superior — more at master

Latin magistratus magistracy, magistrate, from magistr- magister master, political superior

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Last Updated

31 Aug 2018

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The first known use of magistrate was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of magistrate

: a local official who has some of the powers of a judge


mag·is·trate | \ ˈma-jə-ˌstrāt \

Kids Definition of magistrate

1 : a chief officer of government

2 : a local official with some judicial power


mag·is·trate | \ ˈma-jə-ˌstrāt, -strət \

Legal Definition of magistrate 

1 : a civil or judicial official vested with limited judicial powers a traffic magistrate

2a : a municipal, state, or federal judicial officer commonly authorized to issue warrants, hear minor cases, and conduct preliminary or pretrial hearings

called also magistrate judge

b : an official (as a judge) authorized to perform the role or function of a magistrate magistrate means an officer having power to issue a warrant for the arrest of a person charged with a public offenseArizona Revised Statutes

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