When you give counsel or counsel someone, you give advice. If your neighbor is suing you because your dog keeps eating his begonias, you might seek the counsel of a dog trainer or, if that doesn't work, a lawyer.

You can get professional counsel — from a minister or psychiatrist or someone else trained in counseling — or you can get counsel from anyone you trust. You can ask your stylish friend to counsel you on your hairstyle, or you could write to Dear Abby for counsel on your lovelife. Counsel is also what you call a lawyer who represents you in court. In your begonia-eating dog case, your lawyer would be counsel for the defense.

Definitions of counsel
  1. noun
    something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action
    synonyms: counseling, counselling, direction, guidance
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    guideline, road map
    a detailed plan or explanation to guide you in setting standards or determining a course of action
    career counseling
    counseling on career opportunities
    something that provides guidance (as Polaris guides mariners)
    genetic counseling
    guidance for prospective parents on the likelihood of genetic disorders in their future children
    marriage counseling
    counseling on marital problems and disagreements
    confidential information, hint, lead, steer, tip, wind
    an indication of potential opportunity
    type of:
    content, message, subject matter, substance
    what a communication that is about something is about
  2. noun
    a lawyer who pleads cases in court
    synonyms: advocate, counsellor, counselor, counselor-at-law, pleader
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    type of:
    attorney, lawyer
    a professional person authorized to practice law; conducts lawsuits or gives legal advice
  3. verb
    give advice to
    “The teacher counsels troubled students”
    “The lawyer counselled me when I was accused of tax fraud”
    synonyms: advise, rede
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    exhort, press, urge, urge on
    force or impel in an indicated direction
    deter, dissuade
    turn away from by persuasion
    admonish, discourage, monish, warn
    admonish or counsel in terms of someone's behavior
    tip, tip off
    give insider information or advise to
    misadvise, misguide
    give bad advice to
    put forward, as of an idea
    advise professionally
    make a treatment inadvisable
    hurry, rush
    urge to an unnatural speed
    bear on, push
    press, drive, or impel (someone) to action or completion of an action
    talk out of
    persuade someone not to do something
    advocate, preach
    speak, plead, or argue in favor of
    type of:
    discuss, hash out, talk over
    speak with others about (something); talk (something) over in detail; have a discussion
Commonly confused words

council / counsel

A council is meeting for discussion or advice, but to counsel is a verb meaning to give advice. They sound exactly the same, but the language council met and decided to counsel you on how to keep them straight.

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