voir dire


ˈvwär-ˈdir How to pronounce voir dire (audio)
: a preliminary examination to determine the competency of a witness or juror

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web From about 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., the voir dire process moved off camera, as Judge Bruce Schroeder, the prosecution and defense questioned some possible jurors individually in a library within the courthouse. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 Nov. 2021 Also on Sunday, Robbins asked for extensive voir dire – the questioning of potential jurors to determine their suitability to serve on a jury – to include questioning to determine whether any of the potential jurors are members of social media groups launched to discuss the death of Kat West. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 16 Nov. 2020 About 60 people survived the screening process and from that pool, 18 were put into the jury box for open court voir dire. Shayna Jacobs, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Oct. 2022 The court also noted that any potential for juror bias could be solved in the voir dire process and by an instruction from the court for the jurors not to read out of court commentary. Cincinnati Enquirer, The Enquirer, 19 Jan. 2023 The judge, Justice Julian Goose, empaneled a jury on the first day, much speedier than the spirited haggling of the American voir dire process, which is meant to weed out bias among jurors. Selam Gebrekidan, New York Times, 16 Nov. 2022 The voir dire of potential jurors would be an unprecedented spectacle; so would the mug shot. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 23 Dec. 2022 About 60 people survived the screening process and from that pool, 18 were put into the jury box for open court voir dire. Shayna Jacobs, Washington Post, 24 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'voir dire.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Anglo-French, literally, to speak the truth

First Known Use

1676, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of voir dire was in 1676

Dictionary Entries Near voir dire

Cite this Entry

“Voir dire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/voir%20dire. Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

Legal Definition

voir dire

1 of 2 noun
: a formal examination especially to determine qualification (as of a proposed witness)
the judge admitted the witness's expert testimony after a voir dire by the attorney
especially : the act or process of questioning prospective jurors to determine which are qualified (as by freedom from bias) and suited for service on a jury

voir dire

2 of 2 transitive verb
voir dired; voir diring
: to examine in a voir dire proceeding
a motion to voir dire the witness outside the presence of the jury
voir diring prospective jurors as to their beliefs concerning the death penaltyState v. Ortiz, 540 P.2d 850 (1975) (concur)

Anglo-French, to speak the truth

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