: a person added to a jury usually from among bystanders to make up a deficiency in the available number of jurors
: a member of a large pool of persons called for jury duty from which jurors are selected

Word History


Middle English tales talesmen, from Medieval Latin tales de circumstantibus such (persons) of the bystanders; from the wording of the writ summoning them

First Known Use

1679, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of talesman was in 1679

Dictionary Entries Near talesman

Cite this Entry

“Talesman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/talesman. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Legal Definition


plural talesmen
: a person summoned as one of the tales added to a jury
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