Definition of court noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kɔːt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kɔːrt//
    Tennis, Basketball
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] the place where legal trials take place and where crimes, etc. are judged the civil/criminal courts Her lawyer made a statement outside the court. She will appear in court tomorrow. They took their landlord to court for breaking the contract. The case took five years to come to court (= to be heard by the court). There wasn't enough evidence to bring the case to court (= start a trial). During the court hearing, the prosecutor said she would seek maximum prison sentences. He won the court case and was awarded damages. She can't pay her tax and is facing court action. The case was settled out of court (= a decision was reached without a trial). Which Word?court / law court / court of law All these words can be used to refer to a place where legal trials take place. Court and (formal) court of law usually refer to the actual room where cases are judged. Courtroom is also used for this. Law court (British English) is more often used to refer to the building:The prison is opposite the law court. Courthouse is used for this in North American English. see also courthouse, courtroom Wordfinderabide by something, court, crime, justice, law, legal, police, prosecute, punish, trial CollocationsCriminal justiceBreaking the law break/​violate/​obey/​uphold the law be investigated/​arrested/​tried for a crime/​a robbery/​fraud be arrested/ (especially North American English) indicted/​convicted on charges of rape/​fraud/(especially US English) felony charges be arrested on suspicion of arson/​robbery/​shoplifting be accused of/​be charged with murder/(especially North American English) homicide/​four counts of fraud face two charges of indecent assault admit your guilt/​liability/​responsibility (for something) deny the allegations/​claims/​charges confess to a crime grant/​be refused/​be released on/​skip/​jump bailThe legal process stand/​await/​bring somebody to/​come to/​be on trial take somebody to/​come to/​settle something out of court face/​avoid/​escape prosecution seek/​retain/​have the right to/​be denied access to legal counsel hold/​conduct/​attend/​adjourn a hearing/​trial sit on/​influence/​persuade/​convince the jury sit/​stand/​appear/​be put/​place somebody in the dock plead guilty/​not guilty to a crime be called to/​enter (British English) the witness box take/​put somebody on the stand/(North American English) the witness stand call/​subpoena/​question/​cross-examine a witness give/​hear the evidence against/​on behalf of somebody raise/​withdraw/​overrule an objection reach a unanimous/​majority verdict return/​deliver/​record a verdict of not guilty/​unlawful killing/​accidental death convict/​acquit the defendant of the crime secure a conviction/​your acquittal lodge/​file an appeal appeal (against)/challenge/​uphold/​overturn a conviction/​verdictSentencing and punishment pass sentence on somebody carry/​face/​serve a seven-year/​life sentence receive/​be given the death penalty be sentenced to ten years (in prison/​jail) carry/​impose/​pay a fine (of $3 000)/a penalty (of 14 years imprisonment) be imprisoned/​jailed for drug possession/​fraud/​murder do/​serve time/​ten years be sent to/​put somebody in/​be released from jail/​prison be/​put somebody/​spend X years on death row be granted/​be denied/​break (your) parole British/​Americanat / in school In British English somebody who is attending school is at school:I was at school with her sister. In North American English in school is used:I have a ten-year-old in school. In school in North American English can also mean ‘attending a university’. Culturethe legal systemFor historical reasons, the system of law used in Scotland is different from that in England and Wales, with the law in Northern Ireland similar to that in England. When making decisions Scottish courts look for an appropriate general principle and apply it to a particular situation. English law relies on case law, a collection of previous decisions, called precedents. English courts look at precedents for the case being tried and make a similar judgement. A basic principle of law in Britain is that anyone accused is innocent until proven guilty, so it is the job of the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant (= the person accused) has broken the law as stated in the charge. If this cannot be proved the person must be acquitted (= allowed to go free, with no blame attached).British law is divided into civil law which concerns disagreements between individuals about matters such as business contracts, and criminal law which deals with offences that involve harm to a person resulting from somebody breaking the law. In civil cases, the plaintiff (= the person who claims to have been wronged) brings an action against the defendant in the hope of winning damages (= a financial payment) or an injunction (= a court order preventing the defendant from doing something). Criminal cases are brought against criminals by the state, in England and Wales by the Director of Public Prosecutions and in Scotland through procurators fiscal.In England and Wales most towns have a Magistrates' Court where minor cases are judged and more serious cases are passed to higher courts by three magistrates called Justices of the Peace, specially trained members of the public. The more serious cases are heard in a Crown Court by a judge and a jury. Minor civil cases, such as divorce and bankruptcy, are heard in the county courts and more serious ones in the High Court of Justice. Appeals against decisions from the Crown Court or the High Court go to the Court of Appeal and a few cases, where a question of law is in doubt, are passed to the Supreme Court, which has replaced the House of the Lords as the highest court in the country.In Scotland, criminal cases are heard in District Courts by members of the public called lay justices. More serious cases go to regional sheriff courts and are heard by the sheriff and a jury. Appeals go to the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh. Civil cases begin in the sheriff court and may go on appeal to the Court of Session.In the US, the judicial system is one of the three branches of the federal government, but the legal system operates at many levels with state, county and city courts as well as federal courts. The right to trial by jury is provided by the Constitution. Each type of court has its own jurisdiction, that is it deals with certain kinds of cases. Both civil and criminal cases are first heard in trial courts and there is a right to appeal against the court's decision in a court of appeals. Many states have family courts where people get divorced and small claims courts which deal with small amounts of money. States also have trial courts, which hear a wider range of cases, and courts of appeal called superior courts or district courts. Most states have a supreme court where the most serious appeals are held. States have their own criminal code, but some crimes are federal offences, i.e. against federal law, and crimes may fall under federal jurisdiction if more than one state is involved.Most courts have only one judge, but some higher courts have several. In the US Supreme Court, the nine judges are called justices. The people on either side of a case are represented by lawyers, also called attorneys-at-law. In a criminal trial the defendant is represented by a defense attorney, or if he or she is too poor to pay a lawyer, the court will appoint a public defender. The prosecution is led by an assistant district attorney or, in federal cases, by a federal attorney.
  2. 2  the court [singular] the people in a court, especially those who make the decisions, such as the judge and jury Please tell the court what happened. The court heard yesterday how the man collapsed and died after being stabbed. see also contempt of court, county court, Crown Court, High Court, juvenile court, Supreme Court
  3. for sport
  4. 3[countable] a place where games such as tennis are played a tennis/squash/badminton court He won after only 52 minutes on court. see also clay court, grass court, half-court See related entries: Tennis, Basketball
  5. kings/queens
  6. 4[countable, uncountable] the official place where kings and queens live the court of Queen Victoria He was presented to the queen at court.
  7. 5the court [singular] the king or queen, their family, and the people who work for them and/or give advice to them
  8. buildings
  9. 6[countable] = courtyard
  10. 7(abbreviation Ct) [countable] used in the names of blocks of flats or apartment buildings, or of some short streets; (in Britain) used in the name of some large houses
  11. 8[countable] a large open section of a building, often with a glass roof the food court at the shopping mall
  12. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French cort, from Latin cohors, cohort- ‘yard or retinue’. The verb is influenced by Old Italian corteare, Old French courtoyer. Compare with cohort.Extra examples Court documents showing illegal transactions were released to the press. Court was adjourned for the weekend. Divorce no longer requires a court appearance. Do you prefer playing tennis on grass courts or hard courts? He hopes to repeat his success on the grass courts of Wimbledon. He received a court summons for non-payment of tax. He should be tried at the International Court in the Hague. He was a real gentleman both on and off court and a delight to play. He was charged with contempt of court after shouting at a witness. He was found guilty at Swindon Crown Court. He will appear in court tomorrow charged with the murder. I don’t think that argument would stand up in a court of law. Mozart quickly became a favourite in court circles. Off court she is just as aggressive as she is on the court. Once a lawsuit is filed, a court date is set. Relatives of the dead girl were in court. She is a good player on hard courts. She is too young to appear before the court. She should seek damages through the civil courts. She tried to get a court order to prevent him from coming near her. She was appointed a high court judge in 1998. The Supreme Court refused to allow the appeal. The banks may decide to appeal to a higher court. The case may be heard by a court of appeal next month. The case should not be allowed to go to court. The case was appealed to a higher court. The case will be tried before a criminal court. The child was made a ward of (the) court when her parents were jailed. The company argued there was no case to answer, but the court disagreed. The company asked the court to overrule the tribunal’s decision. The court acquitted Reece of the murder of his wife. The court dismissed the appeal. The court heard how the mother had beaten the 11-year-old boy. The court held that she was entitled to receive compensation. The court issued an injunction. The court sentenced him to life in prison. The court upheld the plaintiff’s claim of unfair dismissal. The court was presided over by Judge Owen. The dispute was settled out of court. The guilty verdict was quashed by the appeal court. The players are good friends off court and train together. The players have been on court for an hour. Their neighbours took them to court. There wasn’t enough evidence to bring the case to court. They are likely to end up in divorce court. They could now face a court battle for compensation. They took their case to the Appeal Court. This is the highest court in the country. We are prepared to go to court to get our compensation. We were trying to convince the court that the rules should be changed. Will you please tell the court what happened on that morning? a member of the imperial court of Kyoto an indoor volleyball court life at court life at the court of Charles I the Court of Appeals the High Court of Justice During the court hearing, the prosecutor said she would seek maximum prison sentences. He won after only 52 minutes on court. She can’t pay her tax and is facing court action. The building is situated in a medieval court at the top of Edinburgh’s royal mile. The case took five years to come to court. The court heard yesterday how the man collapsed and died. a tennis/​squash/​badminton courtIdioms
    the ball is in your/somebody’s court
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    it is your/somebody’s responsibility to take action next They've offered me the job, so the ball's in my court now.
    hold court (with somebody)
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    to entertain people by telling them interesting or funny things I met Giles holding court with some tourists in a cafe.
    laugh somebody/something out of court
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    (British English, informal) to completely reject an idea, a story, etc. that you think is not worth taking seriously at all All his attempts at explanation were simply laughed out of court.
    (old-fashioned) to treat somebody with great respect in order to gain favour with them
    rule/throw something out of court
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    to say that something is completely wrong or not worth considering, especially in a trial The charges were thrown out of court. Well that's my theory ruled out of court.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: court