If a board is called a Council, and those on it are now called Council Members rather than Councilmen and Councilwomen for the purpose of gender neutrality, please explain if there is a difference between the title of the position and the title by which they are addressed in conversation at meetings. Would it be appropriate to refer to them as Councillors? Are attorneys sometimes called Counsellors? Does this seem confusing if both are interacting at the same meeting?


"Council Members" is the word generally used to refer to all of them. In individual address, it is common to use the gender-specific form, i.e. Councilman or Councilwoman. As to Councillor, it is also used, but because of the homophone Counsellor, which is not the same thing, I think that Councillor is less used.

A councillor is a person who is a member of a council. A counselor is someone gives counsel, or advice. Of course, councillors can give counsel, even while on the council. And no doubt many counsellors are members of a council. A council of counselors.

What fun!

And yes, an attorney is sometimes addressed or referred to as Counsellor.

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I've never heard Councilman or Councilwoman used in British English. The normal term for any member of a local council would be Councillor.

The term attorney is not used in the UK to mean a lawyer, and lawyers are never referred to as counsellor.

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  • Hi @TrevorD, I was intrigued by this answer and looked up the distinction between barrister and solicitor (being the terms in use in the UK). The functions of barrister and solicitor are combined into one, and all who are licensed to practice law may do both functions. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrister#United_States – Cyberherbalist Aug 10 '13 at 22:52

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