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Though the terms, counsel and council share similar pronunciations, they have distinctly different meanings.

The term council is a noun only and most commonly means a group of persons brought together to deliberate on a particular issue; or a body of people elected or appointed to serve as administrators, legislators or advisors.

“Members of the council are appointed for a period of three years.”

The term counsel can be used as a noun or a verb. The noun denotes a legal advisor or advisors who commonly conduct(s) a case in court (the noun can be used in both the singular and plural forms). The verb means to give advice to someone (for example, a lawyer to a client).

“A counsel was appointed for the defendant by the court.”

“The lawyer counseled her client on the matter brought to her attention.”