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n. pl. de·cem·virs or de·cem·vi·ri (-və-rī′)
1. One of a body of ten Roman magistrates, especially a member of one of two such bodies appointed in 451 and 450 bc to draw up a code of laws.
2. One of an authoritative body of ten.

[Middle English, from Latin, sing. of decemvirī, commission of ten men : decem, ten; see dekm̥ in Indo-European roots + virī, pl. of vir, man; see wī-ro- in Indo-European roots.]

de·cem′vi·ral adj.
de·cem′vi·rate (-vər-ĭt, -və-rāt′) n.


(dɪˈsɛmvɪrɪt; -ˌreɪt)
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a board of decemvirs
2. (Law) a board of decemvirs
3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the rule or rank of decemvirs
4. (Law) the rule or rank of decemvirs
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The decemvirate were bad dictators, according to Machiavelli, because they made constitutional changes (ibid.