attorney general

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Anglo-Norman/Law French, (modern French avocat général), hence the unusual order of adjective following noun, instead of idiomatic English *general attorney. Compare court martial, notary public, secretary general, surgeon general.

Noun[edit]

attorney general (plural attorneys general)

  1. A major government officer throughout the English-speaking world, generally responsible for interpreting the law for the head of government and executive department and functioning as chief prosecutor, with the ability to bring civil and criminal actions directly.
    Janet Reno was Attorney General under Bill Clinton.

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