mag·​is·​trate | \ ˈma-jə-ˌstrāt How to pronounce magistrate (audio) , -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 How to pronounce magistratical (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for magistrate


adjudicator, beak [chiefly British], 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

On Thursday, Morales selected career jurist and Constitutional Court alternate magistrate Maria Consuelo Porras to replace Aldana effective May 17. Sonia Perez D., Fox News, "Guatemala's crusading prosecutor exits amid praise, threats," 8 May 2018 An Ohio man who claimed last week to be a missing child was ordered Tuesday by a federal magistrate judge in Cincinnati to be detained without bond pending a trial. Jake Holland, WSJ, "Man Claiming He Was Missing Boy Timmothy Pitzen Detained by Judge Without Bond," 9 Apr. 2019 But this month, as Naomi Rea reports for Artnet News, an Italian magistrate ruled that the museum must return the precious relic to Italy. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "The Getty Is Fighting to Keep a Rare Greek Bronze," 16 June 2018 The suspect reportedly has been transferred to Paris and will be brought before a magistrate charged with the continuing investigation Friday afternoon. Peter Mikelbank,, "French Police Arrest New Suspect in Kim Kardashian's 2016 Robbery Case," 13 Apr. 2018 When the district files a complaint, a magistrate issues a summons and the sheriff's office serves it to the parents. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "Will CMS charge thousands with truancy crime? What you need to know about absences. | Charlotte Observer," 12 Apr. 2018 Wochit The Sumpter Township couple charged in the death of 4-year-old Gabrielle Barrett will remain behind bars without bond pending trial, a magistrate ruled during their arraignment Saturday. Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press, "Sumpter Township couple accused in death of 4-year-old held without bond," 20 Jan. 2018 Miller heavily implied that the accusers and magistrates of Salem were motivated by a combination of fear and greed, including a desire to seize the lands of the accused. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Trump’s favorite slander against Robert Mueller’s investigation has a very long history.," 26 Jan. 2019 To remove James II and his Catholicism from the throne, William of Orange—the Dutch chief magistrate and staunchly Protestant husband of James’s daughter, Mary—invaded England with his army. Robert K. Landers, WSJ, "‘William Penn’ and ‘The Worlds of William Penn’ Review: A Trans-Atlantic ‘Holy Experiment’," 11 Jan. 2019

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

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Statistics for magistrate

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for magistrate

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

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More Definitions for magistrate



English Language Learners Definition of magistrate

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


mag·​is·​trate | \ ˈma-jə-ˌstrāt How to pronounce magistrate (audio) \

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 How to pronounce magistrate (audio) \

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

History and Etymology for magistrate

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

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Comments on magistrate

What made you want to look up magistrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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