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An official who was formerly sent to carry out the orders of a civil or ecclesiastical court.

[Middle English, from Latin appāritor, from appāritus, past participle of appārēre, to appear; see appear.]
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.


(Law) an officer who summons witnesses and executes the orders of an ecclesiastical and (formerly) a civil court
[C15: from Latin: public servant, from appārēre to appear]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(əˈpær ɪ tər)

(in ancient Rome) a subordinate official of a magistrate or court.
[1250–1300; Middle English < Latin appāritor]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Generally, he was informed of suspicious behavior by court officials like the captain and the alarii or apparitors. (52) Such vigilance is glimpsed in a case in 1757.
Haselmayer spells out the duties of the summoner's or "apparitor's" office in "The Apparitor and Chaucer's Summoner," Speculum 12 (1937): 43-57.