One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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’.
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