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Council or Counsel? (Meaning, Usage + Examples)

Council or counsel?

Council or counsel?

Council and counsel are both nouns; though the latter has a verb form. Despite that these words sound the same, they are different (but related).

  • Council (noun) can describe a “a group of people who are elected to govern an area such as a city or county”. Also, relatedly, it can refer to a group of people that meet to make rules or laws and discuss issues.

  • Counsel (noun or verb) as a noun, it can refer to advice that’s been given to someone, or to legal representation in court. As a verb, it refers to the act of giving advice.

“Council”, used in sentences

Examples: “council”, used in sentences
Students should apply to their local council for a grant.

Residents have complained to the council about the noise.

She has been working for the council since March.

In Britain, the Arts Council gives grants to theatres.

“Counsel”, used in sentences

Examples: “counsel”, used in sentences
According to his doctor’s counsel, he needs to eat less red meat.

The defendant claimed he lost the case because of his bad counsel.

He is there to give you counsel on all matters.

Listen to the counsel of your elders.

Council, synonyms

  • assembly
  • board
  • body
  • cabinet
  • chamber
  • clan
  • committee
  • conclave
  • confab (a conversation)
  • conference
  • congregation
  • congress

Counsel, synonyms

  • admonition
  • advice
  • advisement
  • caution
  • consideration
  • consultation
  • deliberation
  • direction
  • instruction
  • guidance

Word origin (of council/counsel)

“Assembly of persons for consultation, deliberation or advice,” early 12c., originally in the Church sense, “assembly of prelates and theologians to regulate doctrine and discipline,” from Anglo-French cuncile.

c. 1200, “advice or instruction given;” c. 1300, “mutual advising or interchange of opinions, consultation,” from Old French counseil “advice, counsel; deliberation, thought” (10c.), from Latin consilium “plan, opinion”.

Read about other misused words

Commonly misused wordsUK English vs. US English
former vs. latterburned or burnt?
bear with vs. bare withcolor or colour?
breathe or breathfavorite vs. favourite
compliment vs. complementsmelled or smelt?
effect vs. affectgray or grey?
elude or alludefavor vs. favour
it’s or itsanalyze or analyse?


  1. Oxford Learner’s Dictionary on “council” and “counsel”. Accessed 11 March, 2024.
  2. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of council.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed 12 March, 2024.
  3. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of counsel.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed 12 March, 2024.

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