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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Assize \As*size"\, n. [OE. assise, asise, OF. assise, F. assises, assembly of judges, the decree pronounced by them, tax, impost, fr. assis, assise, p. p. of asseoir, fr. L. assid?re to sit by; ad + sed[=e]re to sit. See Sit, Size, and cf. Excise, Assess.]

  1. 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. [Obs.]

  2. (Law)

    1. A special kind of jury or inquest.

    2. A kind of writ or real action.

    3. A verdict or finding of a jury upon such writ.

    4. 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; as, the assize of bread and other provisions; (2) A statute fixing the standard of weights and measures.

    5. Anything fixed or reduced to a certainty in point of time, number, quantity, quality, weight, measure, etc.; as, rent of assize.

      Note: [This term is not now used in England in the sense of a writ or real action, and seldom of a jury of any kind, but in Scotch practice it is still technically applied to the jury in criminal cases.

    6. A court, the sitting or session of a court, for the trial of processes, whether civil or criminal, by a judge and jury.
      --Encyc. Brit.

    7. 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.

    8. The time or place of holding the court of assize; -- generally in the plural, assizes.

  3. Measure; dimension; size. [In this sense now corrupted into size.]

    An hundred cubits high by just assize.


Assize \As*size"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Assized; p. pr. & vb. n. Assizing.] [From Assize, n.: cf. LL. assisare to decree in assize. Cf. Asses, v.]

  1. To assess; to value; to rate. [Obs.]

  2. To fix the weight, measure, or price of, by an ordinance or regulation of authority. [Obs.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"session of a law court," c.1300 (attested from mid-12c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French assise "session, sitting of a court" (12c.), properly fem. past participle of asseoir "to cause to sit," from Latin assidere "to sit beside" (see assess). Originally "all legal proceedings of the nature of inquests or recognitions;" hence sessions held periodically in each county of England to administer civil and criminal justice.


n. 1 A session or inquiry made before a court or jury. 2 The verdict reached or pronouncement given by a panel of jurors. 3 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. 4 A statute or ordinance, especially one regulating weights and measures. 5 Anything fixed or reduced to a certainty in point of time, number, quantity, quality, weight, measure, etc. 6 (context obsolete English) Measure; dimension; size.

  1. n. the regulation of weights and measures of articles offered for sale

  2. an ancient writ issued by a court of assize to the sheriff for the recovery of property

Assize (Scotland)

Assize is a word sometimes used in Scots law to mean a trial by jury.

Usage examples of "assize".

It is true, the prices assigned by the assize of Richard were meant as a standard for the accompts of sheriffs and escheators and as considerable profits were allowed to these ministers, we may naturally suppose that the common value of cattle was somewhat higher: yet still, so great a difference between the prices of corn and cattle as that of four to one, compared to the present rates, affords important reflections concerning the very different state of industry and tillage in the two periods.

At his side on this, the first day of the Assize Court, would be the High Sheriff of Derbyshire in full ceremonial uniform.

And then Nest would call for her mother, and Eleanor would go and invent some strange story about the summonses Edward had had to Caernarvon assizes, or to Harlech cattle market.

I was retained at Hertford Assizes, with Peter Ryland as my leader, to prosecute a man for perjury, which was alleged to have been committed in an action in which a cantankerous man, who had once filled the office of High Sheriff for the county, was the prosecutor.

Caesar kept stopping to hold assizes in the main towns along the Via Aemilia: Bononia, Mutina, Regium Lepidum, Parma, Fidentia.

The trial of Castaing commenced before the Paris Assize Court on November 10, 1823.

The trial of the widow and her accomplice opened before the Paris Assize Court on July 23, 1877, and lasted three days.

Vitalis and Marie Boyer were tried before the Assize Court at Aix on July 2, 1877.

After a magisterial investigation lasting two months, which failed to shed any new light on the more mysterious elements in the case, Fenayrou, his wife and brother were indicted on August 19 before the Assize Court for the Seine-et-Oise Department, sitting at Versailles.

It is the custom in certain assize towns for the President, after pronouncing sentence, to visit a prisoner who had been ordered for execution.

The trial of Eyraud and Bompard took place before the Paris Assize Court on December 16, 1890.

The names of the jurymen who were to be called on to serve at the assize had been published.

Fallieres, then Minister of Justice, limiting the powers of presidents of assize in admitting visitors into the reserved part of the court.

We mean to make an advocate of ourselves with a prospect of one day being made President of a Court of Assize, when we shall send poor devils, our betters, to the galleys with a T.

It is composed of the most distinguished of the men who are sent straight to the Assize Courts when they come up for trial.