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[bar-uh-ster] /ˈbær ə stər/
noun, Law.
(in England) a lawyer who is a member of one of the Inns of Court and who has the privilege of pleading in the higher courts.
Compare solicitor (def 4).
Informal. any lawyer.
Origin of barrister
1535-45; derivative of bar1, perhaps after obsolete legister lawyer or minister
Related forms
[bar-uh-steer-ee-uh l] /ˌbær əˈstɪər i əl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for barrister
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On her account a barrister on the Temple Stairs was near to letting fall his bag in the water.

    Richard Carvel, Complete Winston Churchill
  • He's a schoolmaster and a barrister and a poet and heaven knows what not.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
  • You see Christabel Pankhurst has been turned down as a barrister.

    Mrs. Warren's Daughter Sir Harry Johnston
  • The last sentence in the barrister's letter begins with "I despair."

    Lotus Buds Amy Carmichael
  • When the debt appeared to be prim facie proved, the barrister turned to the defendant, and perhaps asked him if he disputed it?

    Recollections of a Policeman William Russell (aka Thomas Waters)
  • And whilst I toyed with her charming daughter, she sent for a barrister.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
British Dictionary definitions for barrister


Also called barrister-at-law. (in England) a lawyer who has been called to the bar and is qualified to plead in the higher courts Compare solicitor See also advocate, counsel
(in Canada) a lawyer who pleads in court
(US) a less common word for lawyer
Word Origin
C16: from bar1
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 barrister

1540s, "a student of law who has been called to the bar," from bar (n.3) in the legal sense + -ster. Also see attorney. The second element is obscure.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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