Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person legally appointed by another to act as his or her agent in the transaction of business, specifically one qualified and licensed to act for plaintiffs and defendants in legal proceedings.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lawyer; one who advises or represents others in legal matters as a profession.
  • n. An agent or representative authorized to act on someone else's behalf.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A substitute; a proxy; an agent.
  • n.
  • n. One who is legally appointed by another to transact any business for him; an attorney in fact.
  • n. A legal agent qualified to act for suitors and defendants in legal proceedings; an attorney at law.
  • transitive v. To perform by proxy; to employ as a proxy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who is appointed by another to act in his place or stead; a proxy.
  • n. Specifically In law, one who is appointed or admitted in the place of another to transact any business for him.
  • n. The general supervisor or manager of a plantation. [British West Indies.]
  • To perform by proxy.
  • To employ as a proxy.
  • n. The appointment of another to act in one's stead; the act of naming an attorney: now used only in the following phrase.
  • n. In United States law, the certificate of the court admitting an attorney to practise, which testifies that the attorney has qualified and taken his oath of office.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a professional person authorized to practice law; conducts lawsuits or gives legal advice

Etymologies

Middle English attourney, from Old French atorne, from past participle of atorner, to appoint; see attorn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French atornee, feminine past participle of atorner (to prepare, to ready), compare attorn (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Thank you for auxesis - that's why I come to wordie!

    And, Groucho, my other ear is tone deaf to all cultures!

    December 20, 2007

  • Solicitor and barrister are standard for me too, as I'm familiar (well—to an only pedestrian degree!) with the English law system, within which those are the two defined branches of the profession. I'd never heard attorney till I started to come more into contact with American culture through the media.

    burntsox may be interested to know that there's a (self-referential in this case) term for such hoity-toitiness: auxesis

    December 18, 2007

  • Really? Solicitor sounds very ordinary to me. Though I'm probably just used to hearing it.

    December 18, 2007

  • What nationality is your other ear?

    December 18, 2007

  • lol - I'd say "solicitor" and "barrister" BOTH sound pretentious to my American ear!

    December 18, 2007

  • You are right burntsox. Though the preference for Attorney seems to be an American trend.

    In Australia the split is between Solicitor vs. Barrister, as the profession is not fused over here.

    December 18, 2007

  • I think "attorney" is somewhat pretentious, as compared to "lawyer." There is a difference: a lawyer is one who practices law, while an attorney is one who represents someone.

    But it bugs me when people opt for the more hoity-toity. "Attorney" vs. "lawyer." "I" instead of "me."
    "Physician" over "doctor" (though on that one the words are truly indistinguishable and, if anything, physican is more precise in the medical field).

    December 18, 2007