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[ahr-bi-ter] /ˈɑr bɪ tər/
a person empowered to decide matters at issue; judge; umpire.
a person who has the sole or absolute power of judging or determining.
Origin of arbiter
1350-1400; Middle English arbitour, arbitre < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin arbiter
Related forms
superarbiter, noun

arbiter elegantiae

[ahr-bi-ter ey-le-gahn-tee-ahy; English ahr-bi-ter el-uh-gan-shee-ee] /ˈɑr bɪˌtɛr ˌeɪ lɛˈgɑn tiˌaɪ; English ˈɑr bɪ tər ˌɛl əˈgæn ʃiˌi/
noun, Latin.
a judge of elegance or matters of taste.
Also, arbiter elegantiarum
[ahr-bi-ter ey-le-gahn-tee-ah-roo m; English ahr-bi-ter el-uh-gan-shee-air-uh m] /ˈɑr bɪˌtɛr ˌeɪ lɛˌgɑn tiˈɑ rʊm; English ˈɑr bɪ tər ˌɛl əˌgæn ʃiˈɛər əm/ (Show IPA)
. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for arbiter
  • This person sees himself or herself as the final arbiter of all things moral and ethical at the college.
  • Elections are the arbiter of disputes in free societies.
  • You are not the arbiter of what other people should do.
  • Surely, the bank's policymaking board would have been the better arbiter.
  • I've never set myself up as a social arbiter.
  • I'm going to let the course chair be the arbiter on this one.
  • In science, nature is the sole arbiter.
  • The independent arbiter overseeing implementation of the settlement advertised the agreement in several newspapers and magazines.
  • The bureau is the official arbiter of business cycles.
  • The latter, in most cases, is the final arbiter of what goes into a new style.
British Dictionary definitions for arbiter


a person empowered to judge in a dispute; referee; arbitrator
a person having complete control of something
Word Origin
C15: from Latin, of obscure origin
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
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Word Origin and History for arbiter

late 14c., from Old French arbitre or directly from Latin arbiter "one who goes somewhere (as witness or judge)," in classical Latin used of spectators and eye-witnesses, in law, "he who hears and decides a case, a judge, umpire, mediator;" from ad- "to" (see ad-) + baetere "to come, go." The specific sense of "one chosen by two disputing parties to decide the matter" is from 1540s. The earliest form of the word attested in English is the fem. noun arbitress (mid-14c.) "a woman who settles disputes."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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