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Definition of Court

(noun) A formal institution that has the power to make decisions (judgments) based on law and the coercive power of authority to enforce those decisions.

Example of Court

Court Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: court

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /kORt/
  • British English – /kAWt/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /kɔ(ə)rt/
  • British English – /kɔːt/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: courts
  • In contrast to a court, a moot is similar but informal.
  • Also called:
    • court of justice
    • court of law
    • law court (lawcourt)

Related Quotation

  • “The devices for effecting degradation vary in the feature and effectiveness according to the organization and operation of the system of action in which they occur. In our society the arena of degradation whose product, the redefined person, enjoys the widest transferability between groups has been rationalized, at least as to the institutional measures for carrying it out. The court and its officers have something like a fair monopoly over such ceremonies, and there they have become an occupational routine. This is to be contrasted with degradation undertaken as an immediate kinship and tribal obligation and carried out by those who, unlike our professional degraders in the law courts, acquire both right and obligation to engage in it through being themselves the injured parties or kin to the injured parties” (Garfinkel 1956:424).

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Additional Information

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Works Consulted

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Court

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “court.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 3, 2022 (https://sociologydictionary.org/court/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

court. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/court/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “court.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 3, 2022. https://sociologydictionary.org/court/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“court.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 3 Oct. 2022. <https://sociologydictionary.org/court/>.