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[uh-sahyz] /əˈsaɪz/
Usually, assizes. a trial session, civil or criminal, held periodically in specific locations in England, usually by a judge of a superior court.
an edict, ordinance, or enactment made at a session of a legislative assembly.
an inquest before members of a jury or assessors; a judicial inquiry.
an action, writ, or verdict of an assize.
the last assize; the great assize.
a statute for the regulation and control of weights and measures or prices of general commodities in the market.
Origin of assize
1250-1300; Middle English asise < Old French: a sitting, noun use of feminine of asis seated at (past participle of aseeir), equivalent to a- a-5 + -sis < Latin sēssum (sed- stem of sedēre to sit1 + -tus past participle suffix) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for assizes
Historical Examples
  • So they were committed for trial at the Liverpool assizes, to be holden some time in the present month.

  • His ignorance of law was soon shewn at the Lancaster assizes.

    James Boswell William Keith Leask
  • If he had been tried at the assizes, I would have gone there.

    The Widow Lerouge Emile Gaboriau
  • She was committed for trial at the assizes, as the magistrate had no ducking-stool.

    Bygone Punishments William Andrews
  • And as to Galway, we may gather the state of affairs from the report of a case tried at the Winter assizes of 1912.

    Is Ulster Right? Anonymous
  • I find that the assizes will be here, in Alston, at the end of next month.

    Orley Farm Anthony Trollope
  • At Hull the assizes had only been held once in seven years, and afterwards once in three.

  • I have come to see a man called Robert Tryst, waiting for trial at the assizes.

    The Freelands John Galsworthy
  • Professional business took me to the assizes during your second trial.

  • He then had notice for the summer assizes at Warwick; and so on.

British Dictionary definitions for assizes


plural noun
(formerly in England and Wales) the sessions, usually held four times a year, of the principal court in each county, exercising civil and criminal jurisdiction, attended by itinerant judges: replaced in 1971 by crown courts


(in the US)
  1. a sitting of a legislative assembly or administrative body
  2. an enactment or order of such an assembly
(English history) a trial or judicial inquest, the writ instituting such inquest, or the verdict
(Scots law)
  1. trial by jury
  2. another name for jury1
Word Origin
C13: from Old French assise session, from asseoir to seat, from Latin assidēre to sit beside; see assess
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 assizes



"session of a law court," c.1300 (attested from mid-12c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French assise "session, sitting of a court" (12c.), properly fem. past participle of asseoir "to cause to sit," from Latin assidere (see assess). Originally "all legal proceedings of the nature of inquests or recognitions;" hence sessions held periodically in each county of England to administer civil and criminal justice.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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