oyer and terminer


oy·​er and ter·​mi·​ner ˌȯi-ər-ən(d)-ˈtər-mə-nər How to pronounce oyer and terminer (audio)
: a commission authorizing a British judge to hear and determine a criminal case at the assizes
: a high criminal court in some U.S. states

Word History


Middle English, partial translation of Anglo-French oyer et terminer, literally, to hear and determine

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oyer and terminer was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near oyer and terminer


oyer and terminer


Cite this Entry

“Oyer and terminer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oyer%20and%20terminer. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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