Definition of ephor in US English:



  • (in ancient Greece) one of five senior Spartan magistrates.

    • ‘But his view was in the minority: the majority were in favour of it, influenced by the opinion of an ephor, Sthenelaïdas, that the Spartans would win.’
    • ‘The most important of the latter, the five annually elected ephors, had exceptionally wide and apparently unchallengeable powers during their year of office, though they could only hold the office once.’
    • ‘At some date before 396 the ephors withdrew support from the faltering decarchies.’
    • ‘The ephor was a magistrate of Sparta who contained and controlled the kings.’
    • ‘There was a Council of Elders, an assembly, and the five ephors.’


From Greek ephoros ‘overseer’, from epi ‘above’ + the base of horan ‘see’.