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Definition of EPHOR
: one of five ancient Spartan magistrates having power over the king
: a government official in modern Greece; especially: one who oversees public works
Origin of EPHOR
Latin ephorus, from Greek ephoros, from ephoran to oversee, from epi- + horan to see — more at wary
First Known Use: 1579
(Greek ephoros) Title of the five highest Spartan magistrates. With the two kings of Sparta they formed the state's executive wing. The list of ephors dates back to 754 BC. Every male citizen was eligible for election to the ephorate, which conducted meetings of the gerousia and apella and executed their decrees. The ephors' extensive police powers allowed them to declare war on the helots annually, with legal license to attack and kill them if necessary. In an emergency they could even arrest and try a king.