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Old French arbitre, from Latin arbiter (a witness, judge, literally one who goes to see).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɑːbɪtə(ɹ)/
  • IPA(key): /ˈɑːr.bə.tɜː/
  • (file)


arbiter (plural arbiters)

  1. A person appointed, or chosen, by parties to determine a controversy between them; an arbitrator.
    • 1931, William Bennett Munro, The government of the United States, national, state, and local, page 495
      In order to protect individual liberty there must be an arbiter between the governing powers and the governed.
  2. (with of) A person or object having the power of judging and determining, or ordaining, without control; one whose power of deciding and governing is not limited.
    Television and film, not Vogue and similar magazines, are the arbiters of fashion.
  3. (electronics) A component in circuitry that allocates scarce resources.

Related terms[edit]



arbiter (third-person singular simple present arbiters, present participle arbitering, simple past and past participle arbitered)

  1. (transitive) To act as arbiter.
    • 2003, Jean-Benoit Nadeau, Julie Barlow, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong: Why We Love France But Not the French, page 116
      Worse, since there was no institution to arbiter disagreements between Parliament and the government, whenever Parliament voted against the government on the smallest issues, coalitions fragmented, and governments had to be recomposed.

Further reading[edit]




Possibly connected with ad- and bētō, thus originally meaning "one that goes to something in order to see or hear it".



arbiter m (genitive arbitrī); second declension

  1. witness, spectator, beholder, listener
  2. judge, arbitrator
  3. master, lord, ruler
  4. vocative singular of arbiter


Second-declension noun (nominative singular in -er).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative arbiter arbitrī
Genitive arbitrī arbitrōrum
Dative arbitrō arbitrīs
Accusative arbitrum arbitrōs
Ablative arbitrō arbitrīs
Vocative arbiter arbitrī

Derived terms[edit]



  • arbiter in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • arbiter in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • arbiter in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • (ambiguous) in private; tête-à-tête: remotis arbitris or secreto
  • arbiter in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • arbiter in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin