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Glossary of Legal Terms
beginning with letter A
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abandon Tweet Definition of abandon Like Definition of abandon on Facebook
noun
  1. A complete give up, giving up to natural impulses; freedom from artificial constraint; careless freedom or ease.
verb
  1. (transitive) To give up control of, to surrender.
    • Hope was overthrown, yet could not be abandoned. " I. Taylor
      1. (transitive) To leave behind, to desert.
      Many baby girls have been abandoned on the streets of Beijing everyday.
      1. (context, transitive, obsolete) To cast out, cast or drive out; to banish; to expel; to reject.
    • 1594: Being all this time abandoned from your bed. " Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, I-ii
      1. (transitive) To relinquish a claim to property to underwriters.
abate Tweet Definition of abate Like Definition of abate on Facebook
noun
  1. (obsolete) abatement. - Sir T. Browne
verb (abat, ing)
  1. (transitive) To bring down (a person) physically or mentally; to humble; to depress.
  2. (transitive) To bring down or reduce to a lower state, number, or degree; to lessen; to diminish; to contract; to moderate; to cut short.
    • 1605: She hath abated me of half my train " William Shakespeare, King Lear, II.ii
    • 1611: His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. " Deuteronomy 34:7
      1. (intransitive) To decrease, or become less in strength or violence; to experience a diminution of force or of intensity.
      The pain abates.
      The storm abated.
    • The fury of Glengarry ... rapidly abated. - Thomas Macaulay
      1. (transitive) (obsolete) To beat down; to destroy; to level with the ground.
    • The King of Scots ... sore abated the walls. - Edward Hall
      1. (transitive) To deduct; to omit; as, to abate something from a price.
    • Nine thousand parishes, abating the odd hundreds. - Fuller
      1. (transitive) To bar; to except.
      2. (transitive) (obsolete) To blunt.
    • To abate the edge of envy. - Francis Bacon
      1. (transitive) (obsolete) To reduce in estimation; to deprive.
    • She hath abated me of half my train. - Shakespeare, King Lear, II-iv
      1. (transitive) To bring entirely down or put an end to; to do away with.
      To abate a nuisance.
      To abate a writ.
      1. (transitive) To diminish; to reduce.
      Legacies are liable to be abated entirely or in proportion, upon a deficiency of assets.
      1. (intransitive) To be defeated or come to naught; to fall through; to fail.
      A writ abates.
abduction Tweet Definition of abduction Like Definition of abduction on Facebook
noun
  1. (rfdate, make this into proper citation) The act of abduce, abducing or abducting; a drawing apart; a carrying away. " Roget
  2. (context, physiology) The movement which separates a limb or other part from the axis, or middle line, of the body.
  3. The wrongful, and usually the forcible, carrying off of a human being.
    • the of a child
    • the of an heiress
      1. (logic) A syllogism or form of argument in which the major is evident, but the minor is only probable.
    • 2005, Ronnie Cann, Ruth Kempson, Lutz Marten, The Dynamics of Language, an Introduction, p. 256
    • : The significance of such a step is that it is not morphologically triggered: it is a step of , and what is required here is a meta-level process of reasoning.
      1. (computing) The process of inference to the best explanation; abductive reasoning.
      2. (context, education) The process used in getting students to see disciplinary regularity through the use of metaphor.
      (rfex)
abeyance Tweet Definition of abeyance Like Definition of abeyance on Facebook
noun
  1. Expectancy; condition of being undetermined.
The proceeds of the estate shall be held in in an escrow account until the minor reaches age twenty-one.
Note: When there is no person in existence in whom an inheritance (or a dignity) can vest, it is said to be in abeyance, that is, in expectation; the law considering it as always potentially existing, and ready to vest whenever a proper owner appears. ''Blackstone
  1. Suspension; temporary suppression.
He kept his temper in for several moments, when he found out what she had done.
Keeping the sympathies of love and admiration in a dormant state, or state of . -De Quincey
  1. (heraldry) Expectancy of a title, it's right in existence but its exercise suspended.
able Tweet Definition of able Like Definition of able on Facebook
verb (abl, ing)
  1. (transitive) (obsolete) To make capable; to enable; to strengthen.
  2. (transitive) (obsolete) To vouch for.
    • I"ll "em. — Shakespeare, King Lear, IV-vi
adjective (abl, er)
  1. (dated) healthy, Healthy.
After the past week of forced marches, only half the men are fully .
  1. Not prevented from; permitted to; having the power or capacity to.
With that obstacle removed, I am now to proceed with my plan.
I"m only to visit you when I have other work here.
I"ll see you as soon as I"m .
  1. skillful, Skillful.
The chairman was also an sailor.
  1. Legally qualified or competent.
In most states, such a person is not to inherit property.
abstract of title Tweet Definition of abstract of title Like Definition of abstract of title on Facebook
noun
  1. An epitome of the evidences of ownership; the condensed history of title to a particular parcel of real estate.
accede Tweet Definition of accede Like Definition of accede on Facebook
verb (acced, ing)
  1. (intransitive) (obsolete) To approach; to arrive; to come forward.
  2. (transitive) To enter upon an office or dignity; to attain.
  3. (transitive) To give one's adhesion; to join a group; to become part of a country etc.
  4. (transitive) To agree or assent to a proposal or a view.
accessary Tweet Definition of accessary Like Definition of accessary on Facebook
noun (plural:accessaries)
  1. (obsolete): One who, not being present, contributes as an assistant or instigator to the commission of an offense.
adjective
  1. (obsolete): accompany, Accompanying as a subordinate; additional; accessory; especially, uniting in, or contributing to, a crime, but not as chief actor. See accessory.
Quotations
  • To both their deaths thou shalt be accessary. - Shakespeare, Richard III, I-iii
  • Amongst many secondary and accessary causes that support monarchy, these are not of least reckoning. - Milton
  • accession Tweet Definition of accession Like Definition of accession on Facebook
    noun
    1. A coming to; the act of acceding and becoming joined; as, a king's to a confederacy.
    2. Increase by something added; that which is added; augmentation from without; as, an of wealth or territory.
    • The only which the Roman empire received was the province of Britain. - Gibbon
      1. A mode of acquiring property, by which the owner of a corporeal substance which receives an addition by growth, or by labor, has a right to the part or thing added, or the improvement (provided the thing is not changed into a different species). Thus, the owner of a cow becomes the owner of her calf.
      2. The act by which one power becomes party to engagements already in force between other powers - Kent
      3. The act of coming to or reaching a throne, an office, or dignity; as, the of the house of Stuart; -- applied especially to the epoch of a new dynasty.
      4. (medicine) The invasion, approach, or commencement of a disease; a fit or paroxysm.
    accessory Tweet Definition of accessory Like Definition of accessory on Facebook
    noun (accessories)
    1. That which belongs to something else deemed the principal; something additional and subordinate, an attachment
      • the accessories of a mobile phone
        Quotations
      • The aspect and accessories of a den of banditti. - w:Thomas Carlyle
        1. (context, Clothing) An article that completes one's basic outfit, such as a scarf or gloves.
        2. (context, Law) One who, not being present, contributes as an assistant or instigator to the commission of an offense.
      • accessory before the fact
      • accessory after the fact
        1. (Fine Arts): Anything that enters into a work of art without being indispensably necessary, as mere ornamental parts. - w:James Elmes
    adjective
    1. Having a secondary, supplementary or subordinate function by accompanying as a subordinate; aiding in a secondary way; being additional; being connected as an incident or subordinate to a principal; contributing or being contributory. Said of persons and things, and, when of persons, usually in a bad sense; as, he was accessory to the riot; accessory sounds in music.
    2. (context, Law) assist, Assisting a crime without actually participating in committing the crime itself.
    accomplice Tweet Definition of accomplice Like Definition of accomplice on Facebook
    noun
    1. (rare) A cooperator.
    Quotations
    • Success unto our valiant general, And happiness to his 'accomplices! - Shakespeare, Henry VI Part I, V-ii
      1. An associate in the commission of a crime; a participator in an offense, whether a principal or an accessory.
    Quotations
  • And thou, the cursed of his treason. - Johnson
  • Note: It is followed by with or of before a person and by in (or sometimes of) before the crime; as, A was an accomplice with B in the murder of C. Dryden uses it with to before a thing.
    Quotations
  • Suspected for to the fire. - Dryden
  • accretion Tweet Definition of accretion Like Definition of accretion on Facebook
    noun
    1. The act of increasing by natural growth; esp. the increase of organic bodies by the internal accession of parts; organic growth.
    2. The act of increasing, or the matter added, by an accession of parts externally; an extraneous addition; as, an accretion of earth.
    Quotations
    • A mineral ... augments not by grown, but by .
    To strip off all the subordinate parts of his as a later - w:George Cornewall Lewis, George Cornewall Lewis
    1. concretion; coherence of separate particles; as, the accretion of particles so as to form a solid mass.
    2. A growing together of parts naturally separate, as of the fingers toes.
    3. The adhering of property to something else, by which the owner of one thing becomes possessed of a right to another; generally, gain of land by the washing up of sand or sail from the sea or a river, or by a gradual recession of the water from the usual watermark.
    4. Gain to an heir or legatee, failure of a coheir to the same succession, or a co-legatee of the same thing, to take his share.
    accrue Tweet Definition of accrue Like Definition of accrue on Facebook
    noun
    1. (obsolete) Something that accrues; advantage accruing
    verb (accru, ing)
    1. To increase, to augment; to come to by way of increase; to arise or spring as a growth or result; to be added as increase, profit, or damage, especially as the produce of money lent.
    • And though power failed, her courage did - Spenser
  • Interest accrues to principal - Abbott
  • The great and essential advantages accruing to society from the freedom of the press - Junius
    1. (accounting) To be incurred as a result of the passage of time.
    The monthly financial statements show all the actual but only some of the accrued expenses.
    accusation Tweet Definition of accusation Like Definition of accusation on Facebook
    noun
    1. The act of accusing or charging with a crime or with a lighter offense.
    Quotations
    • We come not by the way of / To taint that honor every good tongue blesses. - Shakespeare, Henry VIII, III-i
      1. That of which one is accused; the charge of an offense or crime, or the declaration containing the charge.
    They set up over his head his - Matthew 27:37
    1. A declaration of fault or blame against another.
    accusatorial Tweet Definition of accusatorial Like Definition of accusatorial on Facebook
    adjective
    1. Containing or implying accusation.
    2. (legal) Of or pertaining to the system of a public trial in which the facts are ascertain, ascertained by the judge or jury from evidence presented by the prosecution and the defence.
    acknowledge Tweet Definition of acknowledge Like Definition of acknowledge on Facebook
    verb (acknowledg, ing)
    1. To admit the knowledge of; to recognize as a fact or truth; to declare one's belief in; as, to the being of a God.
    Quotations
    • I my transgressions. - Psalm 51:3.
    For ends generally acknowledged to be good. - w:Thomas Macaulay, Thomas Macaulay
    1. To own or recognize in a particular character or relationship; to admit the claims or authority of; to give recognition to.
    Quotations
  • In all thy ways Him. - Proverbs 3:6
  • By my soul, I'll ne'er thee. - w:William Shakespeare, Shakespeare, w:Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, III-v
    1. To own with gratitude or as a benefit or an obligation; as, to acknowledge a favor, the receipt of a letter.
    Quotations
    They his gifts acknowledged none. - w:John Milton, John Milton
    1. To own as genuine; to assent to, as a legal instrument, to give it validity; to avow or admit in legal form; as, to acknowledge a deed.
    acquest Tweet Definition of acquest Like Definition of acquest on Facebook
    noun
    1. (rare) acquisition; the thing gained. w:Francis Bacon.
    2. property acquired by purchase, gift, or otherwise than by inheritance. - w:John Bouvier.
    acquiescence Tweet Definition of acquiescence Like Definition of acquiescence on Facebook
    noun
    1. A silent or passive assent or submission, or a submission with apparent content; - distinguished from avowed consent on the one hand, and on the other, from opposition or open discontent; quiet satisfaction.
    2. Submission to an injury by the party injured, or tacit concurrence in the action of another.
    acquit Tweet Definition of acquit Like Definition of acquit on Facebook
    verb (acquits, acquitting, acquitted, acquitted)
    1. (followed by "of", formerly by "from"): To set free, release or discharge from an obligation, duty, liability, burden, or from an accusation or charge; - as, the jury acquitted the prisoner of the charge; to find not guilty.
      • 1775: w:Richard Sheridan, Richard Sheridan, The duenna - His poverty, can you him of that?
      • 1837: w:Thomas Babington Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Lord Bacon" in The Edinburgh Review, July 1837 - If he Bacon was convicted, it was because it was impossible to him without offering the grossest outrage to justice and common sense.
      • (Obsolete, Rare): To pay for; to atone for
      • (RQ:Shakespeare Lucrece), line 1071 - Till life to death my forced offence.
        1. To discharge, as a claim or debt; to clear off; to pay off; to requite, to fulfill.
      • (RQ:Chaucer Troilus II), 1200 - `Aquyte him wel, for goddes love,' quod he;
      • 1640: w:Thomas Carew, Thomas Carew, Tasso - Midst foes (as champion of the faith) he ment / That palme or cypress should his painees acquite.
      • 1836: w:Edward Everett, Edward Everett, Orations I-382 - I admit it to be not so much the duty as the privilege of an American citizen to this obligation to the memory of his fathers with discretion and generosity.
      • 1844: w:Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, "s:Experience, Experience" in Essays: second series - We see young men who owe us a new world, so readily and lavishly they promise, but they never the debt; they die young and dodge the account: or if they live, they lose themselves in the crowd.
      • (Reflexively): To clear one's self
      • (RQ:Shakespeare Henry 6-2), III-ii - Pray God he may acquit him of suspicion!
      • (Reflexively)): To bear or conduct one's self; to perform one's part; as, the soldier acquitted himself well in battle; the orator acquitted himself very poorly.
      • 1766: w:Oliver Goldsmith, Oliver Goldsmith, The vicar of Wakefield, xiv - Though this was one of the first mercantile transactions of my life, yet I had no doubt about acquitting myself with reputation.
      • (Obsolete): to release, set free, rescue
      • (RQ:Spenser Faerie Queene), I-vii-52 - Till I have your captive Knight
    acquittal Tweet Definition of acquittal Like Definition of acquittal on Facebook
    noun
    1. The act of acquitting; discharge from debt or obligation; acquittance.
    2. (Law) A setting free, or deliverance from the charge of an offense, by verdict of a jury or sentence of a court.
    actionable Tweet Definition of actionable Like Definition of actionable on Facebook
    adjective
    1. Affording grounds for legal action.
      • "I'm sure it's not good of me to write that he's a lush, but is it ?"
        1. (business) Capable of being articulated as an action item or a set of action items.
      • "One of our objectives in the next cycle is to have reviewed the documentation and determine the feasibility of our project plan schedule. Is that ? Can we determine any deliverables for this?"
    act of God Tweet Definition of act of God Like Definition of act of God on Facebook
    noun
    1. an unforeseen occurrence beyond one's control, such as a natural disaster
    ademption Tweet Definition of ademption Like Definition of ademption on Facebook
    noun
    1. The revocation or taking away of a grant donation, legacy, or the like. Where a legacy of a specific item in a will is no longer owned by the deceased testator at the date of death, the legacy 'ademes' Bouvier.
    (webster)      
    adequate Tweet Definition of adequate Like Definition of adequate on Facebook
    adjective
    1. Equal to some requirement; proportionate, or correspondent; fully sufficient; as, powers adequate to a great work; an adequate definition lawfully and physically sufficient.
    adjective Tweet Definition of adjective Like Definition of adjective on Facebook
    noun
    1. (grammar) A category of words, such as big or heavy, that modify or describe a noun and which can usually be used both attributively and predicatively, be graded, and be modified by an adverb.
    adjective
    1. Additional or adjunct.
      • 1899, w:John Jay Chapman, John Jay Chapman, Emerson and Other Essays, AMS Press (1969) (as http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/13088 reproduced in Project Gutenberg)
      • : In fact, God is of not so much importance in Himself, but as the end towards which man tends. That irreverent person who said that Browning uses "God" as a pigment made an accurate criticism of his theology. In Browning, God is to man.
        1. Applying to methods of enforcement and rules of procedure.
        law
    adjudge Tweet Definition of adjudge Like Definition of adjudge on Facebook
    verb (adjudg, ing)
    1. To declare to be.
    2. To deem or determine to be.
    adjudicate Tweet Definition of adjudicate Like Definition of adjudicate on Facebook
    verb (adjudicat, ing)
    1. To settle a legal case or other dispute.
    2. To act as a judge.
    adjudication Tweet Definition of adjudication Like Definition of adjudication on Facebook
    noun (Plural:adjudications)
    1. The act of adjudicate, adjudicating, of reaching a judgement.
    2. A judgment or sentence.
      Mr. C. says he confessed to avoid a lengthier sentence after his original attorney told him that the prosecutor claimed DNA evidence conclusively identified him as the attacker. Mr. C. had an earlier deferred <b>adjudication</b> for indecency with a minor. &mdash; Houston Chronicle (6/17/2007)
    administer Tweet Definition of administer Like Definition of administer on Facebook
    verb
    1. (transitive) To cause to take, either by openly offering or through deceit.
    We administered the medicine to our dog by mixing it in his food.
    1. (transitive) To apportion out, as in administering justice.
    2. (transitive) To work in an administrative capacity; to supervise the conduct of.
    3. (intransitive) To minister to, as in administering to the sick.
    administration Tweet Definition of administration Like Definition of administration on Facebook
    noun
    1. The act of administering; government of public affairs; the service rendered, or duties assumed, in conducting affairs; the conducting of any office or employment; direction; management.
    2. The executive part of government; the persons collectively who are intrusted with the execution of laws and the superintendence of public affairs; the chief magistrate and his cabinet or council; or the council, or ministry, alone, as in Great Britain.
    3. The act of administering, or tendering something to another; dispensation; as, the administration of a medicine, of an oath, of justice, or of the sacrament.
    administrator Tweet Definition of administrator Like Definition of administrator on Facebook
    noun
    1. One who administers affairs; one who directs, manages, executes, or dispenses, whether in civil, judicial, political, or ecclesiastical affairs; a manager.
    2. A man who manages or settles the estate of an intestate, or of a testator when there is no competent executor; one to whom the right of administration has been committed by competent authority.
    admiralty Tweet Definition of admiralty Like Definition of admiralty on Facebook
    noun (admiralties, -)
    1. (military): The office or jurisdiction of an admiral.
    2. (military): The department or officers having authority over naval affairs generally.
    3. (legal): The court which has jurisdiction of maritime questions and offenses.
    4. (legal): The system of jurisprudence of admiralty courts.
    5. (military) The building in which the lords of the admiralty, in England, transact business.
    advocate Tweet Definition of advocate Like Definition of advocate on Facebook
    noun
    1. A person who argues the case of another, such as a lawyer in a court.
    The lawyer was one of a few good child advocates in town.
    1. A person who speaks in support of something.
    She has been a strong for reform.
    1. A person who supports someone to make their voice heard, or ideally to speak up for themselves.
    ''Since she started working with her she has become much more confident.
    verb (advocat, ing)
    1. (transitive) To argue for someone else.
    2. (transitive) To encourage support for something.
    I like trees, but I do not living in them.
    affiant Tweet Definition of affiant Like Definition of affiant on Facebook
    noun
    1. a person who swears to the veracity of something
      1. the individual whose statement is contained in an affidavit.
    affidavit Tweet Definition of affidavit Like Definition of affidavit on Facebook
    noun
    1. (legal) A signed document wherein an affiant makes a sworn statement.
    He submitted his rather than appearing to testify in court.
    affiliate Tweet Definition of affiliate Like Definition of affiliate on Facebook
    noun
    1. Someone or something that is affiliated, or associated; a member of a group of associated things.
    The local channel was an of a national network.
    affirmation Tweet Definition of affirmation Like Definition of affirmation on Facebook
    noun (Pluralaffirmations)
    1. A declaration that something is true; an oath.
    2. A form of self-forced meditation or repetition; autosuggestion.
    affray Tweet Definition of affray Like Definition of affray on Facebook
    noun
    1. The act of suddenly disturbing any one; an assault or attack.
    2. A tumultuous assault or quarrel.
    3. The fighting of two or more persons, in a public place, to the terror of others.
      The in the busy marketplace caused great terror and disorder.
    verb
    1. To startle from quiet; to alarm.
    2. To frighten; to scare; to frighten away.
    age of consent Tweet Definition of age of consent Like Definition of age of consent on Facebook
    noun
    1. The age at which a person is legally considered to be mature enough to engage willingly in sexual intercourse.
    Note: The term is used to indicate the age at which it is no longer a crime for someone else to engage in consensual sexual intercourse with the person who is still younger than the age of consent, as they are considered statutorily a victim of a crime, because by law they are considered incapable of giving permission to someone else to engage in sexual intercourse with them.      
    aggravated Tweet Definition of aggravated Like Definition of aggravated on Facebook
    verb
    1. (past of, aggravate)
    aggrieved Tweet Definition of aggrieved Like Definition of aggrieved on Facebook
    verb
    1. Simple past and past participle of to aggrieve.
    aleatory Tweet Definition of aleatory Like Definition of aleatory on Facebook
    noun
    1. (music) A form of music in which the performers are free to perform their own material and/or their own manner of presentation.
    adjective
    1. Depending on the throw of a die; random, arising by chance
    alibi Tweet Definition of alibi Like Definition of alibi on Facebook
    noun
    1. (legal) The plea or mode of defense under which a person on trial for a crime proves or attempts to prove that he was in another place when the alleged act was committed; as, to set up an alibi; to prove an alibi. The Criminal Law Deskbook (1988; ISBN 0820512176) states: "Alibi is different from all of the other defenses...it is based upon the premise that the defendant is truly innocent."
    verb (alibi, es)
    1. To provide an alibi for.
    2. To provide an excuse for.
    alienable Tweet Definition of alienable Like Definition of alienable on Facebook
    adjective
    1. Capable of being alienated, sold, or transferred to another; as, land is alienable according to the laws of the state.
    alienate Tweet Definition of alienate Like Definition of alienate on Facebook
    noun
    1. (obsolete) A stranger; an alien.
    verb (alienat, ing)
    1. To convey or transfer to another, as title, property, or right; to part voluntarily with ownership of.
    2. To estrange; to withdraw affections or attention; to make indifferent or averse, where love or friendship before subsisted; to wean; with from.
    The errors which... alienated a loyal gentry and priesthood from the House of Stuart. -Macaulay.
    The recollection of his former life is a dream that only the more alienates him from the realities of the present. -I. Taylor.
    adjective
    1. estranged, Estranged; withdrawn in affection; foreign; with from.
    O from God. w:John Milton, John Milton. Paradise Lost line 4643.
    alienation Tweet Definition of alienation Like Definition of alienation on Facebook
    noun
    1. The act of alienate, alienating.
    The of that viewing demographic is a poor business decision.
    1. The state of being alienate, alienated.
    2. emotional, Emotional isolation or dissociation.
    alienist Tweet Definition of alienist Like Definition of alienist on Facebook
    noun
    1. One who treats diseases of the mind; an expert in mental illness, especially with reference to legal ramifications.
    2. (obsolete) A psychiatrist or psychologist.
    allision Tweet Definition of allision Like Definition of allision on Facebook
    noun
    1. The act of dashing against or strike, striking upon.
    2. (context, maritime) The act of striking a fixed object, compare collision: the act of striking another vessel.
    ambulatory Tweet Definition of ambulatory Like Definition of ambulatory on Facebook
    noun (ambulatories)
    1. The round walkway encircling the altar in many cathedrals.
    adjective
    1. Of, relating to, or adapted to walking
    exercise
    1. (medicine) Able to walk about and not bedridden.
    an patient
    1. (medicine) Performed on or involving an ambulatory patient or an outpatient.
    an electrocardiogram
    medical care
    amerce Tweet Definition of amerce Like Definition of amerce on Facebook
    verb (amerc, es)
    1. (transitive) To impose a fine on; to fine.
      • But I'll you with so strong a fine, that you shall all repent the loss of mine - Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"
      • 1806: The person, in whose house the conventicle met, was amerced a like sum. " Hume, History of England
        1. (transitive) To punish, to make an exaction.
      • 1667: condemn'd / For ever now to have thir lot in pain, / Millions of Spirits for his fault