Definition of oyer and terminer in English:

oyer and terminer


  • A court authorized to hear certain criminal cases.

    • ‘Following the outbreak of witchcraft accusations in Salem, Phips appointed Stoughton chief justice of the newly formed 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.’


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


oyer and terminer

/ˌoiər an(d) ˈtərminər/