1. a person versed in the law, as a judge, lawyer, or scholar.


  1. a person versed in the science of law, esp Roman or civil law
  2. a writer on legal subjects
  3. a student or graduate of law
  4. (in the US) a lawyer

mid-15c., “one who practices law,” from Middle French juriste (14c.), from Medieval Latin iurista “jurist,” from Latin ius (genitive iuris) “law,” from PIE *yewes- “law,” originally a term of religious cult, perhaps meaning “sacred formula” (cf. Latin iurare “to pronounce a ritual formula,” Vedic yos “health,” Avestan yaoz-da- “make ritually pure,” Irish huisse “just”).

The Germanic root represented by Old English æ “custom, law,” Old High German ewa, German Ehe “marriage,” though sometimes associated with this group, seems rather to belong to PIE *ei- “to go.” Meaning “a legal writer” is from 1620s.

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