from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An extent of open ground partially or completely enclosed by walls or buildings; a courtyard.
  • noun A short street, especially a wide alley walled by buildings on three sides.
  • noun A large open section of a building, often with a glass roof or skylight.
  • noun A large building, such as a mansion, standing in a courtyard.
  • noun The place of residence of a sovereign or dignitary; a royal mansion or palace.
  • noun The retinue of a sovereign, including the royal family and personal servants, advisers, and ministers.
  • noun A sovereign's governing body, including the council of ministers and state advisers.
  • noun A formal meeting or reception presided over by a sovereign.
  • noun A person or body of persons that presides over the hearing of cases; a judge or panel of judges.
  • noun The building, hall, or room where cases are heard.
  • noun The session at which cases are heard.
  • noun An ecclesiastical court.
  • noun Sports An open level area marked with appropriate lines, upon which a game, such as tennis, handball, or basketball, is played.
  • noun The body of directors of an organization, especially of a corporation.
  • noun A legislative assembly.
  • intransitive verb To attempt to gain; seek.
  • intransitive verb To behave so as to invite or incur.
  • intransitive verb To try to gain the love or affections of, especially to seek to marry.
  • intransitive verb To attempt to gain the favor of by attention or flattery.
  • intransitive verb Zoology To behave so as to attract (a mate).
  • intransitive verb To pursue a courtship; woo.
  • intransitive verb Zoology To engage in courtship behavior.
  • idiom (pay court to) To flatter with solicitous overtures in an attempt to obtain something or clear away antagonism.
  • idiom (pay court to) To seek someone's love; woo.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To pay court to; endeavor to gain the favor of; try to win over by plausible address; seek to ingratiate one's self with, as by flattery or obsequious attentions.
  • To seek the love of; pay addresses to; woo; solicit in marriage.
  • To attempt to gain by address; solicit; seek: as, to court commendation or applause.
  • To hold out inducements to; invite.
  • To act the courtier; imitate the manners of the court.
  • To pay one's addresses; woo.
  • noun An inclosed space connected with a building or buildings of any kind, and serving properly for their particular uses or service; a courtyard.
  • noun A short arm of a public street, inclosed on three sides by buildings: as, the former Jauncey court on Wall street in New York.
  • noun A smooth, level plot of ground or floor, on which tennis, rackets, or hand-ball is played. See tennis-court.
  • noun A palace; the residence of a sovereign or other high dignitary; used absolutely, the place where a sovereign holds state, surrounded by his official attendants and tokens of his dignity: as, to be presented at court.
  • noun All the surroundings of a sovereign in his regal state; specifically, the collective body of persons who compose the retinue or council of a sovereign or other princely dignitary.
  • noun The hall, chamber, or place where justice is administered.
  • noun In law, a tribunal duly constituted, and present at a time and place fixed pursuant to law, for the judicial investigation and determination of controversies.
  • noun Any jurisdiction, customary, ecclesiastical, or military, conferring the power of trial for offenses, the redress of wrongs, etc.: as, a manorial court; an archbishop's court; a court martial.
  • noun A session of a court in either of the two last preceding senses.
  • noun The meeting of a corporation or the principal members of a corporation: as, the court of directors; the court of aldermen.
  • noun Attention directed to a person in power; address to make favor; the art of insinuation; the art of pleasing; significant attention or adulation: as, to make court (that is, to attempt to please by flattery and address); to pay court (to approach with gallantries, to woo).
  • noun In some States, a county court charged with the financial business of the county.
  • noun The soldiers composing the guard.
  • noun A designation frequently prescribed by law, particularly in the United States, for a local court in a particular county or city, superior in jurisdiction to the lower class of inferior courts existing in the counties and towns throughout the State: as, the Superior Court of the city of New York; the Superior Court of Cincinnati; the Superior Court of Cook county (Chicago). In Connecticut and Georgia the highest court of original jurisdiction is termed the Superior Court. In Kentucky the name is given to an intermediate court of appeal.
  • Pertaining to a court; adhering to a royal court; characteristic of courts: as, court manners; the court party in the civil wars of England.
  • noun Among Foresters and some other friendly societies, a local branch or lodge.


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

[Middle English, from Old French cort, from Latin cohors, cohort-, courtyard, retinue; see gher- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French cort, curt, from Latin cortem (accusative of cors), ultimately from cohors.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word court.



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