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illustration Oyez



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Anglo-Norman, 15th century


A call given by a court officer, or formerly by public criers, typically repeated two or three times to command silence and attention, as before court is in session.

Examples of Oyez in a sentence

"After the court officer made her oyez, the crowd fell silent."

"The continuing tradition of the oyez is one of the rituals built into some judicial systems."

About Oyez

“Oyez” is based on the Anglo-Norman “oyez,” a commandment “to hear.” This was based on the Latin “audīre,” also meaning “to hear.”

Did you Know?

In many federal and state courts across the United States, as well as the Supreme Court, sessions still begin with an oyez, in which an officer of the court calls the public to attention with a cry of “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” This tradition dates back to the 17th century (the word itself is older), when English law courts allowed arguments in both English and Law French, an Anglo-Norman language popular with medieval aristocrats. “Oyez” was Law French’s equivalent for “hear ye,” and even as Law French has long become a relic of history, many U.S. courts still carry on the oyez tradition.

illustration Oyez

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