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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from magistrate

magistratical \ ˌma-​jə-​ˈstra-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce magistrate (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for magistrate


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of magistrate in a Sentence

chose to take their case before the local magistrate
Recent Examples on the Web Coffman did not enter a plea, and he was ordered held without bond by a U.S. magistrate. Anchorage Daily News, "Justice Department investigating potential sedition, conspiracy, terror charges against rioters," 12 Jan. 2021 The Paris prosecutor announced in a statement Saturday that the charges were handed out Friday by a magistrate at the end of Brunel’s custody period. Fox News, "Epstein-linked modeling agent charged with rape of minors," 21 Dec. 2020 Authorities placed him in pre-trial custody after he was charged Friday by a Paris investigative magistrate, Le Parisien reported, citing unidentified sources. Gaspard Sebag,, "Epstein Associate Brunel Charged in France With Rape: Parisien," 19 Dec. 2020 Under the new laws, disputes between farmers and buyers are to be settled at the level of a sub-divisional magistrate, not in civil courts. Vijayta Lalwani, Quartz India, "Three farmers explain the economics of agriculture in India—and why new farm laws are brutal," 9 Dec. 2020 The 65-year-old Sarkozy is accused of having tried to illegally obtain information from a senior magistrate in 2014 about an investigation involving him. Sylvie Corbet, Star Tribune, "French prosecutors seek jail in Sarkozy corruption trial," 8 Dec. 2020 Thirty-eight year resident Berry, a Cleveland Heights Municipal Court clerk, was selected by council members in February to fill the seat left vacant when former councilman Mark Wiseman resigned to become a Cleveland Housing Court magistrate. cleveland, "University Heights announces 2020 Civic Awards winners," 26 Nov. 2020 If no judge is available, police will be allowed to receive the authorization from a magistrate. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Governor signs set of policing reforms into law in Virginia," 29 Oct. 2020 Greenaway was a magistrate in Hamilton County for eight years before he was fired. Johnny Magdaleno, The Indianapolis Star, "Magistrate who swallowed bag of meth may face discipline from Indiana Supreme Court," 9 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about magistrate

Time Traveler for magistrate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for magistrate

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Magistrate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!