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consultation; a lawyer; advice; guidance: She sought counsel for the proposed adoption.
Not to be confused with:
consul – a diplomat residing in a foreign country: the American consul in France
council – a gathering of people for consultation: The matter was brought before the council for an opinion.
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


1. The act of exchanging opinions and ideas; consultation: joined in counsel with colleagues before deciding the issue.
2. Advice or guidance, especially as solicited from a knowledgeable person. See Synonyms at advice.
3. Private, guarded thoughts or opinions: keep one's own counsel.
4. A lawyer or group of lawyers giving legal advice and especially conducting a case in court.
v. coun·seled, coun·sel·ing, coun·sels or coun·selled or coun·sel·ling
1. To give counsel to; advise: counseled us to be prudent.
2. To recommend: counseled care in the forthcoming negotiations.
To give or take advice. See Usage Note at council.

[Middle English counseil, from Old French conseil, from Latin cōnsilium; akin to cōnsulere, to take counsel, consult.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. advice or guidance on conduct, behaviour, etc
2. discussion, esp on future procedure; consultation: to take counsel with a friend.
3. a person whose advice or guidance is or has been sought
4. (Law) a barrister or group of barristers engaged in conducting cases in court and advising on legal matters: counsel for the prosecution.
5. a policy or plan
6. (Ecclesiastical Terms) Christianity any of the counsels of perfection or evangelical counsels, namely poverty, chastity, and obedience
7. counsel of perfection excellent but unrealizable advice
8. private opinions or plans (esp in the phrase keep one's own counsel)
9. archaic wisdom; prudence
vb, -sels, -selling or -selled, -sels, -seling or -seled
10. (tr) to give advice or guidance to
11. (tr; often takes a clause as object) to recommend the acceptance of (a plan, idea, etc); urge
12. (intr) archaic to take counsel; consult
[C13: from Old French counseil, from Latin consilium deliberating body; related to consul, consult]
ˈcounsellable, ˈcounselable adj
Usage: Avoid confusion with council
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkaʊn səl)

n., pl. -sel for 3, n.
1. advice; opinion or instruction regarding the judgment or conduct of another.
2. interchange of opinions as to future procedure; consultation; deliberation.
3. (used with a sing. or pl. v.) the lawyer or lawyers representing one party or the other in court.
4. deliberate purpose; plan; design.
5. Archaic. a private or secret opinion or purpose.
6. Obs. wisdom; prudence.
7. to give advice to; advise.
8. to urge the adoption of, as a course of action; recommend.
9. to give counsel or advice.
10. to get or take counsel or advice.
keep one's own counsel, to remain silent.
[1175–1225; (n.) Middle English counseil < Anglo-French cunseil, Old French conseil < Latin consilium debate, advice, advisory body, plan]
syn: See advice.
usage: See council.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


 a body of legal advisors, 1393.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'council'

Council /'kaʊnsəl/ is a noun. A council is a group of people who run a local area such as a town, city, or county.

...Wiltshire County Council.

Some other groups of people who run organizations are also called Councils.

...the Arts Council.
...the British Council of Churches.
2. 'counsel'

Counsel /'kaʊnsəl/ is usually a verb. If you counsel someone, you give them advice about their problems.

Part of her work is to counsel families when problems arise.

Someone's counsel is the lawyer who gives them advice on a legal case and speaks on their behalf in court.

Singleton's counsel said after the trial that he would appeal.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012


Past participle: counselled
Gerund: counselling

I counsel
you counsel
he/she/it counsels
we counsel
you counsel
they counsel
I counselled
you counselled
he/she/it counselled
we counselled
you counselled
they counselled
Present Continuous
I am counselling
you are counselling
he/she/it is counselling
we are counselling
you are counselling
they are counselling
Present Perfect
I have counselled
you have counselled
he/she/it has counselled
we have counselled
you have counselled
they have counselled
Past Continuous
I was counselling
you were counselling
he/she/it was counselling
we were counselling
you were counselling
they were counselling
Past Perfect
I had counselled
you had counselled
he/she/it had counselled
we had counselled
you had counselled
they had counselled
I will counsel
you will counsel
he/she/it will counsel
we will counsel
you will counsel
they will counsel
Future Perfect
I will have counselled
you will have counselled
he/she/it will have counselled
we will have counselled
you will have counselled
they will have counselled
Future Continuous
I will be counselling
you will be counselling
he/she/it will be counselling
we will be counselling
you will be counselling
they will be counselling
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been counselling
you have been counselling
he/she/it has been counselling
we have been counselling
you have been counselling
they have been counselling
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been counselling
you will have been counselling
he/she/it will have been counselling
we will have been counselling
you will have been counselling
they will have been counselling
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been counselling
you had been counselling
he/she/it had been counselling
we had been counselling
you had been counselling
they had been counselling
I would counsel
you would counsel
he/she/it would counsel
we would counsel
you would counsel
they would counsel
Past Conditional
I would have counselled
you would have counselled
he/she/it would have counselled
we would have counselled
you would have counselled
they would have counselled
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011


A lawyer or team of lawyers conducting a case in court or giving legal advice.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.counsel - a lawyer who pleads cases in courtcounsel - a lawyer who pleads cases in court  
law, jurisprudence - the collection of rules imposed by authority; "civilization presupposes respect for the law"; "the great problem for jurisprudence to allow freedom while enforcing order"
attorney, lawyer - a professional person authorized to practice law; conducts lawsuits or gives legal advice
2.counsel - something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of actioncounsel - something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action
road map, guideline - a detailed plan or explanation to guide you in setting standards or determining a course of action; "the president said he had a road map for normalizing relations with Vietnam"
subject matter, content, message, substance - what a communication that is about something is about
career counseling - counseling on career opportunities
cynosure - something that provides guidance (as Polaris guides mariners); "let faith be your cynosure to walk by"
genetic counseling - guidance for prospective parents on the likelihood of genetic disorders in their future children
marriage counseling - counseling on marital problems and disagreements
confidential information, steer, tip, wind, hint, lead - an indication of potential opportunity; "he got a tip on the stock market"; "a good lead for a job"
Verb1.counsel - give advice tocounsel - give advice to; "The teacher counsels troubled students"; "The lawyer counselled me when I was accused of tax fraud"
urge, urge on, exhort, press - force or impel in an indicated direction; "I urged him to finish his studies"
dissuade, deter - turn away from by persuasion; "Negative campaigning will only dissuade people"
hash out, talk over, discuss - speak with others about (something); talk (something) over in detail; have a discussion; "We discussed our household budget"
admonish, monish, warn, discourage - admonish or counsel in terms of someone's behavior; "I warned him not to go too far"; "I warn you against false assumptions"; "She warned him to be quiet"
tip off, tip - give insider information or advise to; "He tipped off the police about the terrorist plot"
misadvise, misguide - give bad advice to
propound - put forward, as of an idea
consult - advise professionally; "The professor consults for industry"
contraindicate - make a treatment inadvisable
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. advice, information, warning, direction, suggestion, recommendation, caution, guidance, admonition He had always been able to count on her wise counsel.
2. legal adviser, lawyer, attorney, solicitor, advocate, barrister The defence counsel warned that the judge should stop the trial.
1. advise, recommend, advocate, prescribe, warn, urge, caution, instruct, exhort, admonish My advisors counselled me to do nothing.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. An exchange of views in an attempt to reach a decision:
2. An opinion as to a decision or course of action:
3. A person who practices law:
Chiefly British: barrister.
4. Law. One who advises another, especially officially or professionally:
To give recommendations to (someone) about a decision or course of action:
Informal: mentor.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
مُستشار قانوني، مُحامِنَصيحَـهيَنْصَحَ، يُشير على
právní zástupceradaradit
advokatjuridisk rådgiverrådråderådgive
gefa/veita ráî, ráîleggjalögmaîur, málflutningsmaîurráîgjöf
advokātsdot padomuieteikt
právny zástupca
akıl öğretmekdava vekilifikirtavsiyetavsiye etmek


A. N
1. (frm, liter) (= advice) → consejo m
to hold/take counsel (with sb) about sthconsultar or pedir consejo (a algn) sobre algo
to keep one's own counselguardar silencio
a counsel of perfectionun ideal imposible
2. (Jur) (pl inv) → abogado/a m/f
counsel for the defence (Brit) → abogado/a m/f defensor(a)
counsel for the prosecution (Brit) → fiscal mf
Queen's or King's Counsel (Brit) → abogado/a m/f del Estado
B. VT [+ person] (frm) → aconsejar (Med etc) → orientar; [+ prudence etc] → recomendar
to counsel sb to do sthaconsejar a algn que haga algo
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(= advice) → conseil m
(= lawyer) → avocat(e) m/f
counsel for the defence → avocat(e) m/f de la défense
counsel for the prosecution → procureur mf
to keep one's own counsel (= remain silent) → garder ses opinions pour soi
(= give advice to) [+ person] → conseiller
to counsel sb to do sth → conseiller à qn de faire qch
(= recommend) to counsel sth → conseiller qch
to counsel against sth → déconseiller qch
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(form: = advice) → Rat(schlag) m; to hold counsel with somebody over or about somethingmit jdm etw beraten or beratschlagen; to keep one’s own counselseine Meinung für sich behalten, mit seiner Meinung zurückhalten; counsels of perfectionschlaue Ratschläge
pl <-> (Jur) → Rechtsanwalt m; counsel for the defence/prosecutionVerteidiger(in) m(f)/Vertreter(in) m(f)der Anklage, ˜ Staatsanwalt m/-anwältin f; counsel on both sidesVerteidigung und Anklage
(form) personberaten; course of actionempfehlen, raten zu; to counsel somebody to do somethingjdm raten or empfehlen, etw zu tun
(in social work etc) → beraten
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1. n
a. (advice) → consiglio, consultazione f
to keep one's own counsel → tenere le proprie opinioni per sé
b. pl inv (Law) → avvocato/essa
counsel for the defence/the prosecution → avvocato difensore/di parte civile
Queen's (or King's) Counsel → avvocato della Corona
2. vt to counsel sth/sb to do sthconsigliare qc/a qn di fare qc; (caution) → raccomandare qc/a qn di fare qc
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈkaunsəl) noun
1. advice. He'll give you good counsel on your problems.
2. a barrister or advocate. counsel for the defence.
verbpast tense, past participle ˈcounselled , (American) ˈcounseled
to advise; to recommend.
ˈcounsellor , (American) counselor noun
a person who gives advice.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
A prince, therefore, ought always to take counsel, but only when he wishes and not when others wish; he ought rather to discourage every one from offering advice unless he asks it; but, however, he ought to be a constant inquirer, and afterwards a patient listener concerning the things of which he inquired; also, on learning that nay one, on any consideration, has not told him the truth, he should let his anger be felt.
Then the fox said, 'Do not shoot me, for I will give you good counsel; I know what your business is, and that you want to find the golden bird.
AN Assassin being put upon trial in a New England court, his Counsel rose and said: "Your Honour, I move for a discharge on the ground of 'once in jeopardy': my client has been already tried for that murder and acquitted."
After some further ques- tioning, counsel for the prosecution said:
The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command!
The weeks dragged along, no friend visiting the jailed twins but their counsel and Aunt Patsy Cooper, and the day of trial came at last--the heaviest day in Wilson's life; for with all his tireless diligence he had discovered no sign or trace of the missing confederate.
Who happen to be in the Lord Chancellor's court this murky afternoon besides the Lord Chancellor, the counsel in the cause, two or three counsel who are never in any cause, and the well of solicitors before mentioned?
Therefore it is ill in counsel, good in execution; so that the right use of bold persons is, that they never command in chief, but be seconds, and under the direction of others.
LORD NOBLEKIRK, } THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mintlaw), } DONALD DREW, Esquire (Advocate-Depute).} Counsel for the Crown.
I have others here who will do me honour, and above all Jove, the lord of counsel. There is no king here so hateful to me as you are, for you are ever quarrelsome and ill- affected.
Pickwick by the coat sleeve, the little man led him to the low seat just beneath the desks of the King's Counsel, which is constructed for the convenience of attorneys, who from that spot can whisper into the ear of the leading counsel in the case, any instructions that may be necessary during the progress of the trial.
"The last counsel I will give thee now, though it does not tend to bodily improvement, I would have thee carry carefully in thy memory, for I believe it will be no less useful to thee than those I have given thee already, and it is this- never engage in a dispute about families, at least in the way of comparing them one with another; for necessarily one of those compared will be better than the other, and thou wilt be hated by the one thou hast disparaged, and get nothing in any shape from the one thou hast exalted.