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

Tougher controls District Attorney Gonzales said his office is asking magistrate judges to place a restriction on weapons possession as a condition of bail for defendants accused of violent crimes. Scott Huddleston,, "Frustrated by state and federal lawmakers’ lack of concrete action on gun violence, county officials take the lead," 10 Sep. 2019 Based on her hacking skills and violent threats Thompson made online against herself and others, magistrate judge Michelle Peterson concluded that Thompson poses a physical and financial risk and may be a flight risk. Wired, "Everything We Know About the Capital One Hacking Case So Far," 29 Aug. 2019 Olsen made his initial appearance Monday in front of a federal magistrate judge in Youngstown. Eric Heisig, al, "Man allegedly posted about mass shootings, claims he joined Alabama ROTC program," 13 Aug. 2019 The magistrate judge doesn't have the final word in the case. CBS News, "Publisher of major neo-Nazi website may be ordered to pay Montana woman $14 million," 16 July 2019 Seminole’s code-enforcement board or special magistrate schedules a hearing and issues a lien on the property. Martin E. Comas,, "Seminole weighs amnesty program to give incentive to code-enforcement scofflaws," 26 Aug. 2019 And the fines can go as high as $15,000 per violation if the code enforcement board or special magistrate finds the violation to be irreparable or irreversible. Susannah Bryan,, "Dim those bright lights or face $1,000 a day in fines on Hollywood beach," 26 July 2019 Also recommended by the task force: · Counties with multiple municipal courts, such as Cuyahoga, be made to adopt uniform bond amounts to be applied to misdemeanors when judges or magistrates are not available. Peter Krouse,, "Ohio Supreme Court task force recommends bail reforms," 24 July 2019 Many of our listeners are journalists, lawyers, magistrates and university professors. Julia Webster, Time, "A Radio Station in Italy Finds Itself on the Frontline of a Populist Attack on the Press," 5 July 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

14 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for magistrate

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 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 make a temporary encampment

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