One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An expert in or student of civil law; a practitioner of this; specifically (the title of) the Professor of Civil Law at King's College, Aberdeen (now historical).
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in The Complaynt of Scotland. From post-classical Latin civilista civil lawyer from classical Latin cīvīlis + -ista, after post-classical Latin canonista canonist.
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