1) An official with the authority and responsibility to preside in a court, try lawsuits, and make legal rulings. Judges are almost always attorneys. In some states, "justices of the peace" may need only pass a test, and federal and state "administrative law judges" are often lawyer or nonlawyer hearing officers specializing in the subject matter upon which they are asked to rule. 2) The word "court" often refers to the judge, as in the phrase< "The court found the defendant at fault," or "May it please the court?" when addressing the judge. 3) To make a legal conclusion, as in "The court judged the defense of self-defense to be unpersuasive."