Definition of oyer and terminer in English:

oyer and terminer


  • A commission issued to judges on a circuit to hold courts.

    ‘a court of oyer and terminer’
    • ‘At first in the General Eyre and later under the commissions of oyer and terminer and gaol delivery, they would hear criminal cases.’
    • ‘Following the outbreak of witchcraft accusations in Salem, Phips appointed Stoughton chief justice of the newly formed court of oyer and terminer.’


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French oyer et terminer ‘hear and determine’.


oyer and terminer

/ˌɔɪə ən(d) ˈtəːmɪnə/