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[al-kal-dee; Spanish ahl-kahl-th e] /ælˈkæl di; Spanish ɑlˈkɑl ðɛ/
noun, plural alcaldes
[al-kal-deez; Spanish ahl-kahl-th es] /ælˈkæl diz; Spanish ɑlˈkɑl ðɛs/ (Show IPA)
(in Spain and Southwestern U.S.)
a mayor having judicial powers.
Also, alcade
[al-keyd] /ælˈkeɪd/ (Show IPA)
1605-15; < Spanish < Arabic al-qāḍī the judge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for alcade


/ælˈkældɪ; Spanish alˈkalde/
(in Spain and Spanish America) the mayor or chief magistrate in a town
Word Origin
C17: from Spanish, from Arabic al-qādī the judge, from qadā to judge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for alcade


(from Arabic al-qadi, "judge"), the administrative and judicial head of a town or village in Spain or in areas under Spanish control or influence. The title was applied to local government officials whose functions were various but always included a judicial element. Types of alcaldes were differentiated according to the specialized nature of their judicial functions: the alcalde de corte was a judge of the palace court with jurisdiction in and about the residence of the king; the alcalde mayor assisted the royally appointed judges (corregidores) in the towns. Alcaldes de crimen were the ordinary judges in criminal cases in Spanish audiencias (courts). From the 19th century the alcalde had the dual character of leader of the local council (ayuntamiento) and representative of the central government. His duties became mainly administrative with scarcely any judicial functions. Alcaldes de hermandad were minor municipal officials with police and judicial powers

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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