A Dictionary of the English Language
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Court (noun)

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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 495

Court. n.s. [cour, Fr. koert, Dut. curtis, low Latin.]

  1. The place where the prince resides; the palace.

    Here do you keep a hundred knights and squires,
    Men so disorderly, so debauch'd and bold,
    That this our court, infected with their manners,
    Shews like a riotous inn; Epicurism and lust,
    Make it more like a tavern, or a brothel,
    Than a grac'd palace.
    Shakespeare's King Lear.

    It shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. Isaiah, xxvi. 13.

    His care and exactness, that every man should have his due, was such, that you would think he had never seen a court: the politeness and civility with which this justice was administred, would convince you he never had lived out of one. Prior's Dedication.

    A suppliant to your royal court I come. Pope's Odyssey.

  2. The hall or chamber where justice is administered.

    Are you acquainted with the difference
    That holds this present question in the court?
    Shakespeare.

    St. Paul being brought unto the highest court in Athens to give an account of the doctrine he had preached, concerning Jesus and the resurrection, took occasion to imprint on those magistrates a future state. Atterbury's Sermons.

  3. Open space before a house.

    You must have, before you come to the front, three courts; a green court plain, with a wall about it; a second court of the same, but more garnished, with little turrets, or other embellishments upon the wall; and a third court, to square with the front, not to be built but inclosed with a naked wall. Bacon, Essay 46.

    Suppose it were the king's bedchamber, yet the meanest man in the tragedy must come and dispatch his business, rather than in the lobby or court yard (which is fitter for him), for fear the stage should be cleared, and the scenes broken. Dryd.

  4. A small opening inclosed with houses and paved with broad stones.

  5. Persons who compose the retinue of a prince.

    Their wisdom was so highly esteemed, that some of them were always employed to follow the courts of their kings, to advise them. Temple.

  6. Persons who are assembled for the administration of justice.

  7. Any jurisdiction, military, civil, or ecclesiastical.

    If any noise or soldier you perceive
    Near to the wall, by some apparent sign
    Let us have knowledge at the court of guard.
    Shak. H. VI.

                                    The archbishop
    Of Canterbury, accompanied with other
    Learned and revered fathers of his order,
    Held a late court at Dunstable.
    Shakespeare's Henry VIII.

    I have at last met with the proceedings of the court baron, held in that behalf. Spectator, № 623.

  8. The art of pleasing; the art of insinuation.

    Hast thou been never base? Did love ne'er bend
    Thy frailer virtue, to betray thy friend?
    Flatter me, make thy court, and say it did;
    Kings in a crowd would have their vices hid.
    Dryd. Aureng.

    Some sort of people, placing a great part of their happiness in strong drink, are always forward to make court to my young master, by offering that which they love best themselves. Locke, sect. 18.

    I have been considering why poets have such ill success in making their court, since they are allowed to be the greatest and best of all flatterers: the defect is, that they flatter only in print or in writing. Swift to Gay.

  9. It is often used in composition in most of its senses.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Atterbury, Francis (75) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 1 (48) · Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · The Bible - Isaiah (16) · Shakespeare's King Lear (144) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (83) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Prior, Matthew (162) · Spectator (140) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Temple, William (54)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Court (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 5, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=1918.


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