Definition of magisterial in English:



  • 1Having or showing great authority.

    ‘a magisterial pronouncement’
    • ‘However, these issues are really just hairsplitting; it is difficult to find fault with such a magisterial work simply because the author did not cast an already broad net even wider.’
    • ‘The Australian People - the magisterial single-volume encyclopaedia of the Nation, its Peoples, and their Origins - was first released in Australia's bicentennial year of 1988.’
    • ‘With their aid he took an audience of aspiring civil servants through a magisterial ecological history of the Himalaya: the glaciers, the rivers, the forests, the fields.’
    • ‘In Schumann's Fourth Symphony his measured speeds are so subtly controlled that again squareness is avoided, while Emil Gilels gives a magisterial account of the Piano Concerto, crisply lightened in the central Intermezzo.’
    • ‘This quotation is the epigraph to David Halberstam's magisterial ‘Summer of '49,’ surely one of the most influential books in the baseball literary canon.’
    • ‘The short volume is composed of a set of lectures that Keegan, author of such magisterial works as The First World War and Fields of Battle, wrote in 1988 for the British Broadcasting System.’
    • ‘Another big talking point will be the magisterial presence of Ryu Seung Min, the Olympic champion from South Korea, whose footwork has left spectators across the planet gasping for breath.’
    • ‘If Professor Kent's study is incisive and short, Lord Hattersley's is long and designed (but fails) to be magisterial.’
    • ‘Volume 2 of Roy Foster's magisterial biography of W. B. Yeats opens in 1915, when Yeats was in his fiftieth year and at a crossroads in his life.’
    • ‘Most readers of this collection will be familiar with Foot's magisterial two-volume biography of Aneurin Bevan, published in 1962 and 1973.’
    • ‘The performers look directly at us - here is no subterfuge, no stage personas, just magisterial skill on transparent display.’
    • ‘In his magisterial book on leadership, James MacGregor Burns describes the intellectual as someone concerned with ‘values, purposes and ends that transcend immediate needs’.’
    • ‘In this magisterial tour d' horizon of the changing 20 th-century US presidency, Stephen Graubard argues that war and the threat of war have been factors as salient in the development of the presidency as the personalities involved.’
    • ‘But it's the obvious conclusion to emerge from Moloney's magisterial work, though he doesn't himself draw it out as explicitly as this.’
    • ‘Possibly only Professor Peter Groenewegen, the author of a magisterial biography of the English economist Alfred Marshall, could surpass him in this.’
    • ‘Their magisterial collaboration with Yefim Bronfman on Brahms's masterpiece was a real event!’
    • ‘As a subject area, philosophy still suffers from an image problem sometimes, whether as austere, magisterial or downright difficult, so this reassurance seems entirely appropriate.’
    • ‘With its deep research, compelling subject, clear analysis, and magisterial yet accessible authorial voice, Black Prisoners and Their World will be a standard point of reference for years to come.’
    • ‘William Randolph Hearst was, as the author of this magisterial study rightly says, a major force in American politics and journalism for half a century.’
    • ‘To be fair, Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell, in their magisterial How The West Grew Rich, do argue that labor unions improved wages in manufacturing.’
    authoritative, masterful, lordly, judgelike
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    1. 1.1Domineering; dictatorial.
      ‘he dropped his somewhat magisterial style of questioning’
      • ‘In film after film, the director's misanthropy - the magisterial technique that reduced the actors in his films to stick figures carrying out his bidding - represented the triumph of the mechanical over the human.’
      • ‘I can picture him now, often speaking without a note, with humour, incisive argument and magisterial disdain for the opposing view, swatting away anyone ill-judged enough to make a hostile intervention.’
      • ‘Roy Keane, perhaps, at his most magisterial, used to command the midfield and dictate traffic.’
      • ‘They are not claiming magisterial authority and bossing other people around.’
      domineering, dictatorial, autocratic, imperious, bossy, overbearing, peremptory, pompous, lofty, overweening, high-handed, arrogant, haughty
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  • 2Relating to a magistrate.

    ‘magisterial districts’
    • ‘According to the provincial deputy director of traffic operations, fines between R1000 and R2500 were issued depending on magisterial districts.’
    • ‘With jurisdiction limited to the Johannesburg magisterial district, the court will have the power of an ordinary magistrate's court and will be able to issue fines up to R10 000 or a term of imprisonment of no longer than six months.’
    • ‘Whereafter I was confined to the capital city of Windhoek, the magisterial district, I had to hand in my passport and report to the police station several times a week for a couple of months.’
    • ‘Instead of being terminated, these pilot projects should be expanded to other magisterial districts.’
    • ‘It was expected that the controlled area, which already included 16 magisterial districts between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, would be significantly expanded and could include hundreds of square kilometres.’
    • ‘Hay addresses magisterial misconduct in ‘Dread of the Crown Office: the English Magistracy and King's Bench 1740-1800’.’
    • ‘Sakkie Retief, officer for the Graaff-Reinet magisterial district, confirmed that two large swarms, already in the flying stage, were active north of Nieu Bethesda.’
    • ‘In 1883 Howitt's magisterial district was enlarged to include south Gippsland.’
    • ‘The presiding magistrate did not turn up to court, having had magisterial duties at the La Brea district.’
    • ‘He called a meeting of senior and responsible people of the village to bring normalcy in the locality and after describing the incident as shameful, he assured the people of a magisterial enquiry.’
    • ‘Port Elizabeth Chief Magistrate Peter Rothman, who oversees 43 magisterial districts, including East London, said representations were being made to the justice department to address the shortfalls.’
    • ‘Fine schedules are currently with the chief magistrates for the 10 magisterial districts of Johannesburg, who have to formally approve the structures.’
    • ‘Katherine Crummer (nee Akaterini Plessa) arrived in 1835 as the wife of a British army officer who went on to hold various magisterial positions in the colony of NSW.’
    • ‘‘The new by-laws first need to be certified by the magistrates of the various magisterial districts in the municipal area of Johannesburg, which could take up to two weeks,’ said De Klerk.’
    • ‘At the 1991 census, Utrecht town had a population of 2,866, representing only 10 percent of the total population in the magisterial district.’
    • ‘Provincial and Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi issued a statement at lunchtime yesterday declaring a state of disaster in the magisterial districts of Cala, Ugie, Elliot, Indwe and Barkly East.’
    • ‘‘The board wants to give choices to our citizens,’ said Patricia O'Bannon, Tuckahoe magisterial district supervisor on the Henrico County board of supervisors.’
    • ‘Overseen by the Chief Magistrate of Johannesburg, it will have the power of an ordinary magistrate's court, with its jurisdiction limited to the Johannesburg magisterial district.’
    • ‘He will not be able to change his residential address or leave the magisterial district without approval from the head of community corrections.’
    • ‘This judgment does not affect all cottage owners along the coast as many people with houses in the area do have magisterial permission to occupy them.’
    1. 2.1(of a person) holding the office of a magistrate.
      ‘magisterial officers’
      • ‘Hogue shares some of the same goals as other magisterial candidates, citing more jobs and better roads as some primary needs in Casey County.’
      • ‘The two parties have each nominated a magisterial candidate but have agreed to cooperate.’


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin magisterialis, from late Latin magisterius, from Latin magister master.