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a lawyer; attorney-at-law.
an attorney-in-fact; agent.
Contemporary Examples

AG: The president looks to the attorney general for legal advice.
Bush’s Lawyers Strike Back Dan Abrams May 2, 2009

The U.S. attorney, Leura Canary, argued this was tantamount to sale of a public office and brought charges.
What the Justice Department is Hiding Scott Horton November 13, 2008

Attempts to reach May Abad, or her attorney, for comment were unsuccessful.
The Murder Mystery Rocking Miami Gerald Posner February 1, 2010

New York attorney General Andrew Cuomo is probing allegations about Gov. Paterson and a top aide.
Andrew Cuomo’s Paterson Problem Lloyd Grove February 24, 2010

“Insult to injury,” her attorney, Steven Turano, said afterward, insisting that his client is innocent.
A Sax Player, Then a Suspect After Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Final Act Michael Daly February 6, 2014

Historical Examples

Raleigh—The Book was written by a man of your profession, Mr. attorney.
State Trials, Political and Social Various

Away he posted directly to an attorney’s who was empowered to dispose of the land.
Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10) Maria Edgeworth

In 1762, he came to London, and articled himself to an attorney in the Temple.
Curiosities of Human Nature Anonymous

When the attorney reached the spot where the crowd was thickest, way was made for him.
The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington

Mr. Manly, my attorney will let you know the business on which I am come.
Next Door Neighbours Elizabeth Inchbald

a person legally appointed or empowered to act for another
(US) a lawyer qualified to represent clients in legal proceedings
(South African) a solicitor

early 14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French atorné “(one) appointed,” past participle of aturner “to decree, assign, appoint,” from atorner (see attorn). The legal Latin form attornare influenced the spelling in Anglo-French. The sense is of “one appointed to represent another’s interests.”

In English law, a private attorney was one appointed to act for another in business or legal affairs (usually for pay); an attorney at law or public attorney was a qualified legal agent in the courts of Common Law who prepared the cases for a barrister, who pleaded them (the equivalent of a solicitor in Chancery). So much a term of contempt in England that it was abolished by the Judicature Act of 1873 and merged with solicitor.

Johnson observed that “he did not care to speak ill of any man behind his back, but he believed the gentleman was an attorney.” [Boswell]

The double -t- is a mistaken 15c. attempt to restore a non-existent Latin original. Attorney general first recorded 1530s in sense of “legal officer of the state” (late 13c. in Anglo-French), from French, hence the odd plural (subject first, adjective second).


Read Also:

  • Attorney-at-law

    an officer of the court authorized to appear before it as a representative of a party to a legal controversy. Contemporary Examples She served as a social worker, lecturer and educator before becoming an attorney-at-law. 2012 Summit: Who’s On Stage March 5, 2012 Historical Examples We cannot for the small business transactions of life be […]

  • Attorney general

    the chief law officer of a country or state and head of its legal department. (initial capital letters) the head of the U.S. Department of Justice: a member of the president’s cabinet. Contemporary Examples “This is either incompetence or incredibly bad judgment” by the attorney general and others within his inner circle, she said. Eric […]

  • Attorney-in-fact

    a person authorized by power of attorney to act on the authorizer’s behalf outside a court of law.

  • Attorneys-in-fact

    a person authorized by power of attorney to act on the authorizer’s behalf outside a court of law. Historical Examples Attorneys are of two kinds, attorneys-in-fact and attorneys-at-law. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Slice 8 Various

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