from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A civil officer with power to administer and enforce law, as:
- n. A local member of the judiciary having limited jurisdiction, especially in criminal cases.
- n. A minor official, such as a justice of the peace, having administrative and limited judicial authority.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A judicial officer with limited authority to administer and enforce the law. A magistrate's court may have jurisdiction in civil or criminal cases, or both.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A person clothed with power as a public civil officer; a public civil officer invested with the executive government, or some branch of it.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Magistracy.
- n. An administrator of the law; one who possesses jurisdiction or executive authority in matters of civil government; an executive or judicial officer holding the power of decision and disposal in regard to subjects within his cognizance: as, a king is the first magistrate of a monarchy; in the United States the President is often called the chief magistrate; the magistrates of a state or city; civil or judicial magistrates.
- n. Specifically, a minor judicial officer; a justice of the peace, or a police justice; in Scotland, a provost or a bailie of a burgh: as, to be brought before the bar of the local magistrate.
- n. In the New Testament, a Roman military governor or pretor.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a lay judge or civil authority who administers the law (especially one who conducts a court dealing with minor offenses)
Middle English magistrat, from Old French, from Latin magistrātus, from magister, magistr-, master; see meg- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)