11 Trending Words of 2014


[uh-tur-nee] /əˈtɜr ni/
noun, plural attorneys.
a lawyer; attorney-at-law.
an attorney-in-fact; agent.
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French attourne literally, (one who is) turned to, i.e., appointed, past participle of attourner to attorn
Related forms
attorneyship, noun
subattorney, noun, plural subattorneys.
subattorneyship, noun
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for attorneys
  • When a group is being intelligent, whether it's made up of ants or attorneys, it relies on its members to do their own part.
  • As a number of authors have pointed out, regulation of nonprofits by attorneys general has been largely ineffective.
  • Bill's attorneys want to introduce the pictures as evidence that their client has a brain abnormality.
  • attorneys will shoehorn into their arguments any information they can find that might further their ends.
  • For some reason, the vast majority of my clients are attorneys.
  • Once attorneys-general have marked them up, measures must circulate to get the required number of signatures.
  • As a result, defense attorneys routinely do not let their clients take polygraphs.
  • The website also has links for her agent and her attorneys.
  • As the weeks slipped away, her attorneys worked furiously to secure her release.
  • Lawyers, also called attorneys, act as both advocates and advisors in our society.
British Dictionary definitions for attorneys


a person legally appointed or empowered to act for another
(US) a lawyer qualified to represent clients in legal proceedings
(South African) a solicitor
Derived Forms
attorneyship, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French atourné, from atourner to direct to; see attorn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for attorneys



early 14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French atorné "(one) appointed," past participle of aturner "to decree, assign, appoint," from atorner (see attorn). The legal Latin form attornare influenced the spelling in Anglo-French. The sense is of "one appointed to represent another's interests."

In English law, a private attorney was one appointed to act for another in business or legal affairs (usually for pay); an attorney at law or public attorney was a qualified legal agent in the courts of Common Law who prepared the cases for a barrister, who pleaded them (the equivalent of a solicitor in Chancery). So much a term of contempt in England that it was abolished by the Judicature Act of 1873 and merged with solicitor.

Johnson observed that "he did not care to speak ill of any man behind his back, but he believed the gentleman was an attorney." [Boswell]
The double -t- is a mistaken 15c. attempt to restore a non-existent Latin original. Attorney general first recorded 1530s in sense of "legal officer of the state" (late 13c. in Anglo-French), from French, hence the odd plural (subject first, adjective second).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for attorney

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for attorneys

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with attorneys