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From Old Northern French consistorie (secular tribunal) (Old French consistoire), and Late Latin consistorium (waiting room, meeting place of the imperial council). Meaning "Church council" is from early 14th century.


consistory (plural consistories)

  1. A place of standing or staying together; hence, any solemn assembly or council.
    • Milton
      To council summons all his mighty peers, / Within thick clouds and dark tenfold involved, / A gloomy consistory.
  2. The spiritual court of a diocesan bishop held before his chancellor or commissioner in his cathedral church or elsewhere.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Hook to this entry?)
  3. An assembly of prelates; a session of the college of cardinals at Rome.
    • Francis Bacon
      Pius was then hearing of causes in consistory.
  4. A church tribunal or governing body, especially of elders in a Reformed church.
  5. (obsolete) A civil court of justice.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chaucer to this entry?)