Consul, Councillor, Counsel, Counsellor


Consul, Councillor, Counsel, Counsellor

Lawyers may not act as marriage counsellors but they definitely act as divorce counsels!

Consul was an elected office in Roman Republic, and gave consular services. In modern terminology consul is a diplomat. Consul is appointed by a government to reside in a foreign country and represent its interests and promote its trade, culture, etc. The consul (consular general) is the head of the consular section of an embassy.

Councillor is a member of the council (a localized administrative unit such as in the UK. A council is a group of people elected from a council or county or city to manage the local political and administrative affairs). Councillor is spelt with a single ‘l’ in American English: councilor.

Counsel is a noun. It refers to advice or suggestions given by someone who has expertise in a particular subject, or topic gained as a result of studying or practicing that subject.

We also take the counsel of our parents and grandparents who have the experience of life, and may be in a better position to guide us by counseling. They are our unpaid counselors! The plural form of counsel is unchanged: counsel.

Counsel of perfection is an idiom meaning advice that is good, effective, result-oriented but difficult to follow: Doctors give counsel of perfection on ‘quitting smoking’ but do the smokers heed? Other phrases formed out of counsel are: hold counsel with somebody (consult ), take counsel with somebody (take advice), keep one’s own counsel (keep one’s own opinions, plans secret) and take counsel together (consult each other).

In the cabinet meetings of the Government of India, the Prime Minister and the members of the cabinet take counsel from each other before reaching unanimity on an issue.

Counsel is a barrister. Counsel is the one who conducts a law case on behalf of his or her client in the court of law. Who is the counsel for the defence? Who is the counsel for the prosecution? India’s highly-paid counsel reside in New Delhi!

Counsel also functions as a verb: giving someone professional advice. Derivatives of counsel are counsels, counseled, counseling.

Counseling is also noun (gerund): Psychiatrists give counseling for mentally-ill.

Colleges and universities have counseling services for the students’ placements and their welfare.

Counsellor (its American variant is counselor) is an adviser. Kings had counselors in their courts because counselors usually have wisdom and thoughtfulness either as result of their experience or study or thinking powers.

In American and Irish English, counselor or counsellor refers to a lawyer.