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


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Examples of magistrate in a Sentence

chose to take their case before the local magistrate
Recent Examples on the Web Johnson, 59, was appointed to the court by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 after 10 years as a federal prosecutor and 10 years as a federal magistrate. Bob Egelko,, "California judge could face expulsion after charges of sexual harassment," 6 Jan. 2020 Dannenbaum retired from his executive duties as chairman and CEO and is expected to appear in magistrate court Friday afternoon. Stephanie Lamm, Houston Chronicle, "Major Texas engineering firm headed by ex-UT regent admits to hundreds of thousands in illegal campaign contributions," 22 Nov. 2019 According to the City of Spanish Fort website, Cooper works for the city as a municipal court magistrate. Levi Edwards |, al, "Spanish Fort mayor says he did not slap court magistrate," 4 Nov. 2019 Appearing by video link, he was remanded in custody by magistrates in Chelmsford, Essex and will next appear at the Old Bailey in London on November 25. Bianca Britton, CNN, "Police believe all 39 victims found inside Essex truck were Vietnamese," 1 Nov. 2019 Varner was appointed as magistrate in August after her predecessor, Harry A. Radcliffe, was sentenced to four months in prison for tax fraud. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Magistrate reinstated after passing high school equivalency," 8 Oct. 2019 The request came almost immediately after Greenaway, who served as a court magistrate for eight years, was charged with possession of methamphetamine, resisting law enforcement and obstructing justice. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "How crimes involving public officials are handled, from judges' shooting to Dan Forestal," 18 Aug. 2019 The Department then applied for and obtained an arrest warrant from a Parma Municipal Court magistrate. Jack Greiner,, "Strictly Legal: Ohio police department's inability to take a joke may cost it.," 2 July 2019 There's also an initiative to create a department to probe wrongdoing by magistrates. Fox News, "Romania: Leader seeks top court input over contentious laws," 2 May 2018

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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Time Traveler for magistrate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for magistrate

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Magistrate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for magistrate


How to pronounce magistrate (audio)

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

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