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

  • noun A person legally empowered to witness and authenticate documents, administer oaths, take affidavits and depositions, and engage in other activities established by local law.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun an officer who can administer oaths and statutory declarations, witness and authenticate documents and perform certain other acts varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

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

  • noun someone legally empowered to witness signatures and certify a document's validity and to take depositions


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Anglo-Norman/Law French, on model of notaire publique, hence the unusual order of adjective following noun, instead of idiomatic English *public notary. Compare attorney general, court martial, fee simple, secretary general, surgeon general.


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