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[trahy-byoon-l, tri-] /traɪˈbyun l, trɪ-/
a court of justice.
a place or seat of judgment.
Also called tribune. a raised platform for the seats of magistrates, as in an ancient Roman basilica.
1520-30; < Latin tribūnal, tribūnāle judgment seat, equivalent to tribūn(us) tribune1 + -āl(e) -al2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tribunals
  • Twelve thousand people were summarily tried in military tribunals.
  • It is estimated that ten thousand civilians have been put through military tribunals over the past six months.
  • Before these tribunals, therefore, they brought the question.
  • Special tribunals have been condemned as grossly unfair by human rights organizations.
  • Guantanamo prisoners tell their stories in secretive tribunals.
  • The second is that military tribunals are, by definition, trial by judge rather than trial by jury.
  • Some say the administration should have chosen between military tribunals and civilian trials.
  • If it insists on pushing ahead with special tribunals, it must make these fair and independent.
  • And he announced for good measure that in some cases the government might use military tribunals.
  • But on three earlier occasions, trade tribunals have disagreed.
British Dictionary definitions for tribunals


/traɪˈbjuːnəl; trɪ-/
a court of justice or any place where justice is administered
(in Britain) a special court, convened by the government to inquire into a specific matter
a raised platform containing the seat of a judge or magistrate, originally that in a Roman basilica
Word Origin
C16: from Latin tribūnustribune1
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 tribunals



mid-15c., from Old French tribunal (13c.), from Latin tribunal "platform for the seat of magistrates, elevation, embankment," from tribunus "official in ancient Rome, magistrate," literally "head of a tribe," from tribus (see tribe). Hence, a court of justice or judicial assembly (1580s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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