court

Definitions

General English

Commerce

  • noun a place where a judge listens to a case and decides legally which of the parties in the argument is right

Construction

  • An open, unobstructed space surrounded on at least three sides by walls or buildings.

Law

  • noun a place where a trial is held
  • noun the judges or magistrates in a court

Politics

  • noun the place where legal trials are held
  • noun a place where a king or queen lives and rules from

Real Estate

  • noun a session of an official body that has authority to try cases, resolve disputes or make other legal decisions
  • noun a place where a court of law is held
  • noun a large open or roofless area within a building
  • noun a short street of houses that is closed at one end
  • noun a group of houses built around an open space

Sports

  • noun the playing area in some sports, e.g. basketball and tennis

Travel

  • noun an area where a game of tennis or squash, etc., is played

Origin & History of “court”

Latin cohors designated an ‘enclosed yard’ (it was formed from the prefix com- ‘with’ and an element hort- which also appears in English horticulture). By extension it came to stand for those assembled in such a yard – a crowd of attendants or company of soldiers; hence the meaning of cohort familiar today. But both in its original sense and as ‘retinue’ the word took another and rather more disguised path into English. In late Latin the accusative form cohortem had already become cortem, and this passed into English via Old French cort and Anglo-Norman curt. It retains the underlying notion of ‘area enclosed by walls or buildings’ (now reinforced in the tautological compound courtyard (16th c.)), but it seems that an early association of Old French cort with Latin curia ‘sovereign’s assembly’ and ‘legal tribunal’ has contributed two of the word’s commonest meanings in modern English.

The Italian version of the word is corte. From this was derived the verb corteggiare ‘attend court, pay honour’, which produced the noun corteggio, borrowed into English via French as cortège (17th c.). other derivatives include courtesy (13th c.), from Old French cortesie (of which curtsey (16th c.) is a specialized use) and courtesan (16th c.), via French courtisane from Italian cortigiana.
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