from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A judicial inquest, the writ by which it is instituted, or the verdict of the jurors.
  • noun A decree or edict rendered at such an inquest.
  • noun One of the periodic court sessions formerly held in each of the counties of England and Wales for the trial of civil or criminal cases.
  • noun The time or place of such sessions.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In a general sense, to fix; appoint.
  • To fix the rate of; assess, as taxes.
  • To fix the weight, measure, or price of, by an ordinance or authoritative regulation.
  • noun Originally, a sitting or session of a legislative body or court.
  • noun Hence An edict, ordinance, or enactment made at such a session or sitting, or issued by such a body.
  • noun A jury, or trial by jury: now used only in Scotland with reference to criminal causes. See grand assize, below.
  • noun A name given to certain writs commanding juries to be summoned for the trial of causes: as, assize of novel disseizin, the ancient common-law remedy for the recovery of the possession of lands.
  • noun The verdict of a jury in such a case.
  • noun The periodical session held by royal commission by at least one of the judges of the superior courts directed to take the assizes or verdicts of a particular jury (anciently called the assize), in each of the counties of England and Wales (with the exception of London and the parts adjoining), for the purpose of trying issues nisi prius and jail-delivery for criminal cases: popularly called the assizes.
  • noun In a more general sense, any court or session of a court of justice.
  • noun Situation; place.
  • noun Judgment: as, the last or great assize (that is, the last judgment or last day).
  • noun Sometimes spelled assise.
  • noun In geological classification, the French equivalent of the term bed, constituting one of the minor subdivisions in geology. An assize, or bed, is composed of two or more zones; two or more assizes, or beds, constitute a group, stage, or étage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete An assembly of knights and other substantial men, with a bailiff or justice, in a certain place and at a certain time, for public business.
  • noun A special kind of jury or inquest.
  • noun A kind of writ or real action.
  • noun A verdict or finding of a jury upon such writ.
  • noun A statute or ordinance in general. Specifically: (1) A statute regulating the weight, measure, and proportions of ingredients and the price of articles sold in the market; ; (2) A statute fixing the standard of weights and measures.
  • noun Anything fixed or reduced to a certainty in point of time, number, quantity, quality, weight, measure, etc..
  • noun A court, the sitting or session of a court, for the trial of processes, whether civil or criminal, by a judge and jury.
  • noun The periodical sessions of the judges of the superior courts in every county of England for the purpose of administering justice in the trial and determination of civil and criminal cases; -- usually in the plural.
  • noun The time or place of holding the court of assize; -- generally in the plural, assizes.
  • noun Measure; dimension; size.
  • transitive verb obsolete To assess; to value; to rate.
  • transitive verb obsolete To fix the weight, measure, or price of, by an ordinance or regulation of authority.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A session or inquiry made before a court or jury.
  • noun The verdict reached or pronouncement given by a panel of jurors.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the regulation of weights and measures of articles offered for sale
  • noun an ancient writ issued by a court of assize to the sheriff for the recovery of property


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English assise, from Old French, from past participle of asseoir, to seat, from Latin assidēre, to sit beside; see assiduous.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French assises (sat), Latin assidere assize in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913


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  • This word was often used the Jeremy Brett versions of the Sherlock Holmes adventures when their client was to appear before court.

    June 9, 2012