English edit

Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English counseil, conseil, from Old French conseil, from Latin cōnsilium; akin to cōnsulō (take counsel, consult).

Noun edit

counsel (countable and uncountable, plural counsels or counsel)

  1. The exchange of opinions and advice especially in legal issues; consultation.
  2. Exercise of judgment; prudence.
    • 1594–1597, Richard Hooker, edited by J[ohn] S[penser], Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie, [], London: [] Will[iam] Stansby [for Matthew Lownes], published 1611, →OCLC, (please specify the page):
      They all confess, therefore, in the working of that first cause, that counsel is used.
  3. Advice; guidance.
  4. Deliberate purpose; design; intent; scheme; plan.
  5. A lawyer, as in King's Counsel (KC) or Queen's Counsel (QC).
Usage notes edit
  • The prescribed plural is unchanged counsel in the sense “lawyer”, otherwise counsels.
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Etymology 2 edit

From Middle English counseilen, from Old French conseiller, from Latin cōnsilior, from cōnsilium.

Verb edit

counsel (third-person singular simple present counsels, present participle counselling or counseling, simple past and past participle counselled or counseled)

  1. (transitive) To give advice, especially professional advice, to (somebody).
    The lawyer counselled his client to remain silent.
    Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals counsel clients.
  2. (transitive) To recommend (a course of action).
    I would counsel prudence in this matter.
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Middle English edit

Noun edit


  1. a secret opinion or purpose; a private matter