From Old Northern French consistorie (secular tribunal) (Old French consistoire), and Late Latin consistorium (waiting room, meeting place of the imperial council). Meaning "Church council" is from early 14th century.


  • IPA(key): /kənˈsɪstəɹi/
    • (file)


consistory (plural consistories)

  1. A place of standing or staying together; hence, any solemn assembly or council.
  2. The spiritual court of a diocesan bishop held before his chancellor or commissioner in his cathedral church or elsewhere.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Hook to this entry?)
  3. An assembly of prelates; a session of the college of cardinals at Rome.
    • 1626, Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum, Or, A Naturall Historie: In Ten Centuries
      Pius [] [was] then hearing of causes in consistory.
  4. A church tribunal or governing body, especially of elders in a Reformed church.
  5. (obsolete) A civil court of justice.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chaucer to this entry?)