voir dire


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

Examples of voir dire in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Professional backgrounds had been discussed openly since jury selection began, as candidates read answers to a lengthy biographical questionnaire and also spoke about their jobs through voir dire questioning by the prosecution and defense. Isaac Arnsdorf, Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2024 During voir dire, jurors can get sent home in a few ways. Kyler Alvord, Peoplemag, 17 Apr. 2024 Second, even if the motion to change venue were denied, any potential adverse impact upon the juror pool because of the survey will be not only negligible due to the small number of jurors contacted, but also addressable via voir dire. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 28 Mar. 2024 Concerns over prejudice are typically dealt with at the beginning of a trial when prospective jurors answer questions to determine their impartiality, a process called voir dire. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 27 Feb. 2024 The procedure of jury selection, or voir dire, allows the two sides to winnow down a broader pool of potential jurors to just 12, plus a few alternates, who ultimately will hear the case. Byleo Schwartz, Fortune Crypto, 12 Sep. 2023 The first day will be jury selection, where prosecutors and defense attorneys will winnow down a larger pool down to 12 individuals through a process known as voir dire. Byleo Schwartz, Fortune Crypto, 3 Oct. 2023 The practice in federal court has been to try to pick a jury first, and only if the voir dire process fails to produce a fair jury does the judge then consider the change of venue motion. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2023 This gives short shrift to the integrity of jurors themselves and to the voir dire process that Trump’s legal team can use to weed out biased jurors. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 2 Aug. 2023

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 15 Jun. 2024.

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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