There are many words that sound the same or nearly the same, but have different meanings. In English, these words are called homophones. Counsel and council are two often misused near homophones. To make matters worse, their contexts are often related. If you aren’t sure whether you mean to use council or counsel continue reading for an exploration of these words.
In this article, I will compare council vs. counsel. I will use each word in a sentence, illustrating its proper meaning and context. I will also explain a useful trick to help you decide whether council or counsel is correct, based on the context of your sentence.
The word counsel originated from Middle English: via Old French counseil (noun), conseiller (verb), from Latin consilium ‘consultation, advice’, related to consulere. The word council originated from Old English (in the sense ‘ecclesiastical assembly’): from Anglo-Norman French cuncile, from Latin concilium ‘convocation, assembly’, from con- ‘together’ + calare ‘summon’.
Counsel as noun:
The counsel for the defence.
Counsel as verb:
Council as noun:
Counsel or council:
Council and counsel are all nouns, but only counsel can also be used as a verb. A council is a group of people appointed to make decisions. Counsel is another word for advice. As a verb, counsel also means to give advice. Here is a helpful trick to remember counsel vs. council. If the word you are using is a verb, use counsel. Council and consul are never verbs.