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a gathering of people for consultation: The matter was brought before the council for an opinion.
Not to be confused with:
consul – a diplomat residing in a foreign country: the American consul in France
counsel – consultation; a lawyer; advice; guidance: She sought counsel for the proposed adoption.
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


a. An assembly of persons called together for consultation, deliberation, or discussion.
b. A body of people elected or appointed to serve as administrators, legislators, or advisers.
c. An assembly of church officials and theologians convened for regulating matters of doctrine and discipline.
2. The discussion or deliberation that takes place in such an assembly or body.

[Middle English counceil, from Old French concile, from Latin concilium; see kelə- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: Council, counsel, and consul are never interchangeable, though their meanings are related. Council and councilor refer principally to a deliberative assembly (such as a city council or student council), its work, and its membership. Counsel and counselor pertain chiefly to advice and guidance in general and to a person (such as a lawyer or camp counselor) who provides it. Consul denotes an officer in the foreign service of a country.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. an assembly of people meeting for discussion, consultation, etc: an emergency council.
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a body of people elected or appointed to serve in an administrative, legislative, or advisory capacity: a student council.
3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the council (sometimes capital) Brit the local governing authority of a town, county, etc
4. a meeting or the deliberation of a council
5. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (modifier) of, relating to, provided for, or used by a local council: a council chamber; council offices.
6. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (modifier) Brit provided by a local council, esp (of housing) at a subsidized rent: a council house; a council estate.
7. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) Austral an administrative or legislative assembly, esp the upper house of a state parliament in Australia
8. (Ecclesiastical Terms) Christianity an assembly of bishops, theologians, and other representatives of several churches or dioceses, convened for regulating matters of doctrine or discipline
[C12: from Old French concile, from Latin concilium assembly, from com- together + calāre to call; influenced also by Latin consilium advice, counsel]
Usage: Avoid confusion with counsel
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkaʊn səl)

1. an assembly of persons convened for consultation, deliberation, or advice.
2. a body of persons appointed or elected to act in an advisory, administrative, or legislative capacity: the governor's council on housing.
3. an ecclesiastical assembly for deciding matters of doctrine or discipline.
[1125–75; Middle English co(u)nsile < Old French concile < Late Latin concilium synod, church council (Latin: assembly), probably = Latin con- con- + -cil(āre), comb. form of calāre to summon, convoke + -ium -ium1]
usage: council and counsel are not interchangeable. council is a noun. Its most common sense is “an assembly of persons convened for deliberation or the like.” counsel is both noun and verb. Its most common meaning as a noun is “advice given to another.” In law, counsel means “legal adviser or advisers” and can be either singular or plural. As a verb, counsel means “to advise.”
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


 an assembly elected or appointed to administer a county, district, or city; the governing body of various professions, institutions, societies, etc.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'council'

Council /'kaʊnsəl/ is a noun. A council is a group of people who run a local area such as a town, city, or county.

...Wiltshire County Council.

Some other groups of people who run organizations are also called Councils.

...the Arts Council.
...the British Council of Churches.
2. 'counsel'

Counsel /'kaʊnsəl/ is usually a verb. If you counsel someone, you give them advice about their problems.

Part of her work is to counsel families when problems arise.

Someone's counsel is the lawyer who gives them advice on a legal case and speaks on their behalf in court.

Singleton's counsel said after the trial that he would appeal.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.council - a body serving in an administrative capacitycouncil - a body serving in an administrative capacity; "student council"
administrative body, administrative unit - a unit with administrative responsibilities
Sanhedrin - the supreme judicial and ecclesiastical council of ancient Jerusalem
Security Council, SC - a permanent council of the United Nations; responsible for preserving world peace
Trusteeship Council, TC - a permanent council of the United Nations that commissions a country (or countries) to undertake the administration of a territory
Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC - a permanent council of the United Nations; responsible for economic and social conditions
NAC, North Atlantic Council - a council consisting of permanent representatives of all the member countries of NATO; has political authority and powers of decision
city council - a municipal body that can pass ordinances and appropriate funds etc.
executive council - a council that shares the supreme executive power
panchayat, panchayet, punchayet - a village council in India or southern Pakistan
privy council - an advisory council to a ruler (especially to the British Crown)
works council - (chiefly Brit) a council representing employer and employees of a plant or business to discuss working conditions etc; also: a committee representing the workers elected to negotiate with management about grievances and wages etc
soviet - an elected governmental council in a communist country (especially one that is a member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
world council - a council with representatives from different nations
2.council - (Christianity) an assembly of theologians and bishops and other representatives of different churches or dioceses that is convened to regulate matters of discipline or doctrine
Christian religion, Christianity - a monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior
assembly - a group of persons who are gathered together for a common purpose
ecumenical council - (early Christian church) one of seven gatherings of bishops from around the known world under the presidency of the Pope to regulate matters of faith and morals and discipline; "the first seven councils through 787 are considered to be ecumenical councils by both the Roman Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox church but the next fourteen councils are considered ecumenical only by the Roman Catholic church"
Fourth Council of Constantinople, Constantinople - the council in 869 that condemned Photius who had become the patriarch of Constantinople without approval from the Vatican, thereby precipitating the schism between the eastern and western churches
Lateran Council - any of five general councils of the Western Catholic Church that were held in the Lateran Palace
First Council of Lyons, Lyons - the council of the Western Church in 1245 that excommunicated Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and planned a new crusade against the Holy Land
Second Council of Lyons, Lyons - the council in 1274 that effected a temporary reunion of the Greek Orthodox with the Roman Catholic Church
Council of Vienne, Vienne - the council in 1311-1313 that dealt with alleged crimes of the Knights Templar, planned a new crusade, and took on the reformation of the clergy
Council of Constance, Constance - the council in 1414-1418 that succeeded in ending the Great Schism in the Roman Catholic Church
Council of Basel-Ferrara-Florence - the council in 1431-1439 that concentrated on the elimination of heresies and on reforms within the Roman Catholic Church
Council of Trent - a council of the Roman Catholic Church convened in Trento in three sessions between 1545 and 1563 to examine and condemn the teachings of Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers; redefined the Roman Catholic doctrine and abolished various ecclesiastical abuses and strengthened the papacy
Vatican Council - each of two councils of the Roman Catholic Church
3.council - a meeting of people for consultation; "emergency council"
group meeting, meeting - a formally arranged gathering; "next year the meeting will be in Chicago"; "the meeting elected a chairperson"
indaba - a council at which indigenous peoples of southern Africa meet to discuss some important question
Jirga - a Pashto term for a decision making assembly of male elders; "most criminal cases are handled by a tribal Jirga rather than by laws or police"
powwow - a council of or with Native Americans
synod - a council convened to discuss ecclesiastical business
council member, councillor - a member of a council
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. governing body, board, committee, panel, quango The city council has voted almost unanimously in favour of the proposal.
2. governing body, house, parliament, congress, cabinet, ministry, diet, panel, assembly, chamber, convention, synod, conclave, convocation, conference The powers of the King had been handed over temporarily to a council of ministers.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
bæjar- eîa borgarstjórnráî
savivaldybėtarybos narys
danışma kuruludenetleme kurulumeclis
hội đồng


A. N
1. (= committee) → consejo m, junta f (Rel) → concilio m
see also security B
2. (in local government) → concejo m municipal
city/town councilayuntamiento m
you should write to the council about itdeberías escribir al ayuntamiento acerca de eso
the council should move the rubbishles corresponde a los servicios municipales recoger la basura
3. (= meeting) → reunión f, sesión f
council of warconsejo m de guerra
B. CPD Council of Europe NConsejo m de Europa
council flat N (Brit) → piso m or (LAm) departamento m de protección oficial
council house N (Brit) → casa f de protección oficial
council housing N (Brit) → viviendas fpl de protección oficial
council (housing) estate N (Brit) → urbanización f or barrio m de viviendas de protección oficial
council meeting Npleno m municipal
Council of Ministers NConsejo m de Ministros (de la Unión Europea)
council tax N (Brit) impuesto municipal
council tenant N (Brit) → inquilino/a m/f (de una vivienda de protección oficial)
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈkaʊnsəl] n [town, city] → conseil m municipal
He's on the council → Il fait partie du conseil municipal. Arts Councilcouncil estate n (British)lotissement m de logements sociaux, lotissement m de logements à loyer modéré
on a council estate → dans un lotissement de logements sociauxcouncil flat n (British)appartement m à loyer modéré (loué à la municipalité)council house n (British)maison f à loyer modéré (louée à la municipalité)
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n (= body of representatives)Rat m; (= meeting)Sitzung f, → Beratung f; city/town councilStadtrat m; to be on the councilim Rat sitzen, Ratsmitglied sein; to hold councilBeratungen abhalten, Rat halten (old); council of warKriegsrat m; Council of EuropeEuroparat m; Council of Ministers (Pol) → Ministerrat m
adj attr council meetingRatssitzung f


council chamber
nSitzungssaal mdes Rats
council estate
nSozialwohnungssiedlung f
council flat
council house
council housing
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈkaʊnsl] nconsiglio
council of war → consiglio di guerra
city or town council → consiglio comunale
the Security Council of the United Nations → il Consiglio di Sicurezza delle Nazioni Unite
Council of Europe → Consiglio d'Europa
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈkaunsəl) noun
1. a group of people formed in order to advise etc. The King formed a council of wise men; the Council for Recreation.
2. in the United Kingdom, a body of people elected to control the workings of local government in a county, region, district etc.
ˈcouncillor noun
a person who is elected to serve on a council.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


مَجْلِس rada råd Sitzung συμβούλιο ayuntamiento, concejo neuvosto conseil vijeće consiglio 審議会 회의 raad råd rada conselho совет kommunfullmäktige สภาท้องถิ่น meclis hội đồng 政务会
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
All the members of the judiciary department are appointed by him, can be removed by him on the address of the two Houses of Parliament, and form, when he pleases to consult them, one of his constitutional councils. One branch of the legislative department forms also a great constitutional council to the executive chief, as, on another hand, it is the sole depositary of judicial power in cases of impeachment, and is invested with the supreme appellate jurisdiction in all other cases.
These hee-hee councils splendidly illustrate the inconsecutiveness and inconsequentiality of the Folk.
"You hear your fate," said the Sphere to me, while the Council was passing for the third time the formal resolution.
The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home, Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come.
Features of the Wilderness- Herds of Buffalo.- Antelopes- Their Varieties and Habits.- John Day.- His Hunting Strategy- Interview with Three Arickaras- Negotiations Between the Rival Parties - The Left-Handed and the Big Man, two Arickara Chiefs.- Arickara Village- Its Inhabitants- Ceremonials on Landing- A Council Lodge.- Grand Conference - Speech of Lisa.- Negotiation for Horses.
It was at a council, one night, in the big IGLOO of Klosh-Kwan, the chief, that Keesh showed the blood that ran in his veins and the manhood that stiffened his back.
It was our first council--our first real council. And in that council we formed our first tribe.
AMONG the confederacies of antiquity, the most considerable was that of the Grecian republics, associated under the Amphictyonic council. From the best accounts transmitted of this celebrated institution, it bore a very instructive analogy to the present Confederation of the American States.
That same day a council of war had been held in which all the members of the Hofkriegsrath and both Emperors took part.
But as soon as his cubs are old enough to stand on their feet he must bring them to the Pack Council, which is generally held once a month at full moon, in order that the other wolves may identify them.
Just look at him," said the little old man, pointing with his embroidered hat to Karenin in a court uniform with the new red ribbon across his shoulders, standing in the doorway of the hall with an influential member of the Imperial Council. "Pleased and happy as a brass farthing," he added, stopping to shake hands with a handsome gentleman of the bedchamber of colossal proportions.
"You are to know," said he, "that several committees of council have been lately called, in the most private manner, on your account; and it is but two days since his majesty came to a full resolution.