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Glossary of Legal Terms
beginning with letter C
Browse the Legal Glossary
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capacity Tweet Definition of capacity Like Definition of capacity on Facebook
noun (capacit, ies)
  1. the ability to hold, receive or absorb
  2. a measure of such ability; volume
  3. the maximum amount that can be held
  4. capability; the ability to perform some task
  5. the maximum that can be produced
  6. mental ability; the power to learn
  7. faculty; the potential for growth and development
  8. rí´le; the position in which one functions
  9. legal authority (to make an arrest for example)
  10. electrical capacitance
  1. filling the allotted space
caption Tweet Definition of caption Like Definition of caption on Facebook
  1. A title or brief explanation attached to an illustration or cartoon.
  2. A piece of text appearing on screen as part of a film or broadcast.
carnal knowledge Tweet Definition of carnal knowledge Like Definition of carnal knowledge on Facebook
  1. Archaic term for sexual intercourse. It was typically used in a legal context.
case law Tweet Definition of case law Like Definition of case law on Facebook
  1. Law or system of laws established based on judicial precedent rather than on statutory laws created by legislation.
caveat Tweet Definition of caveat Like Definition of caveat on Facebook
  1. a warning
  2. a qualification or exemption
  3. a notice requesting a postponement of a court proceedings
certificate Tweet Definition of certificate Like Definition of certificate on Facebook
  1. a document containing a certified statement
  2. a document evidencing ownership or debt
certification Tweet Definition of certification Like Definition of certification on Facebook
  1. The act of certifying.
certified Tweet Definition of certified Like Definition of certified on Facebook
  1. (past of, certify)
certify Tweet Definition of certify Like Definition of certify on Facebook
verb (certifies, certifying, certified, certified)
  1. to attest to as the truth or meeting a standard
cessionary Tweet Definition of cessionary Like Definition of cessionary on Facebook
  1. The person who receives transfer or cession of a personal obligation from the cedent.
challenge Tweet Definition of challenge Like Definition of challenge on Facebook
  1. An instigation or antagonization intended to convince a person to perform an action they otherwise would not.
  2. A difficult task.
  3. A judge's interest in the result of the case for which he or she should not be allowed to sit the case.
Consanguinity in direct line is a for a judge when he or she is sitting cases.
verb (challeng, ing)
  1. To invite someone to take part in a competition.
  2. To dare someone.
  3. To dispute something.
  4. To make a formal objection to a juror.
chancellor Tweet Definition of chancellor Like Definition of chancellor on Facebook
  1. A judicial court of chancery, which in England and in the United States is distinctively a court with equity jurisdiction.
charge Tweet Definition of charge Like Definition of charge on Facebook
  1. Someone or something entrusted to one's care, i.e. a child to a babysitter.
  2. A load or burden.
    • 2005, w:Plato, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. w:Stephanus pagination, 261a.
    • : we'll nail the sophist to it, if we can get him on that ;
      1. The amount of money levy, levied for a service.
      2. An instruction.
      3. An impetuous attack.
      4. An electric charge.
      5. (basketball) An offensive foul in which the player with the ball moves into a stationary defender.
      6. A measured amount of powder and/or shot in a firearm cartridge.
      7. (heraldry) An image displayed on an escutcheon
verb (charg, ing)
  1. To place a burden upon.
  2. To assign a duty to.
I'm charging you with cleaning up the kitchen.
  1. To formally accuse of a crime.
I'm charging you with grand theft auto.
  1. To assign a debit to an account.
Let's charge this to marketing.
  1. To pay using a credit card.
Can I charge this with my corporate card?
  1. To cause to take on an electric charge.
Rubbing amber with wool will charge it quickly.
  1. To move forward quickly and forcefully, particularly in combat, on horseback or both.
  2. (military) To attack by moving forward quickly in a group.
  3. (basketball) To commit a charging foul.
  4. (cricket) (of a batsman) To take a few steps doen the pitch towards the bowler as he delivers the ball, either to disrupt the length of the delivery, or to get into a better position to hit the ball.
  5. To ready a firearm for use
Charge your weapons, we're moving up
charter Tweet Definition of charter Like Definition of charter on Facebook
  1. a document issued by some authority, creating a public or private institution, and defining its purposes and privileges
  2. a similar document conferring rights and privileges on a person, corporation etc
  3. a contract for the commercial leasing of a vessel, or space on a vessel
  4. the temporary hiring or leasing of a vehicle
  5. a deed
  1. leased or hired
chattel Tweet Definition of chattel Like Definition of chattel on Facebook
  1. tangible, Tangible, movable property.
  2. A slave.
  1. Commonly used to describe the treatment of Russian serfs as property.
cheat Tweet Definition of cheat Like Definition of cheat on Facebook
  1. Someone who cheats (informal: cheater).
  2. A card game where the goal is to have no cards remaining in a hand, often by telling lies.
  3. A hidden means of gaining an unfair advantage in a computer game, often by entering a cheat code.
  1. (intransitive) To violate rules in order to gain advantage from a situation.
  2. (intransitive) To be unfaithful to one's spouse or partner.
chose Tweet Definition of chose Like Definition of chose on Facebook
  1. (simple past of, choose)
civil law Tweet Definition of civil law Like Definition of civil law on Facebook
  1. Roman law based on the Corpus Juris Civilis; it contrasts with common law.
  2. The body of law dealing with the private relations between members of a community; it contrasts with criminal law, military law and ecclesiastical law.
codicil Tweet Definition of codicil Like Definition of codicil on Facebook
  1. : A testamentary instrument ancillary to a will.
codify Tweet Definition of codify Like Definition of codify on Facebook
verb (codif, i, ed)
  1. To reduce to a code, to arrange into a code.
The company president codified the goal as a one-line mission statement.
collusion Tweet Definition of collusion Like Definition of collusion on Facebook
  1. A secret agreement for an illegal purpose; conspiracy.
color Tweet Definition of color Like Definition of color on Facebook
  1. The spectral composition of visible light.
Humans and birds can perceive .
  1. A particular set of visible spectral compositions, perceived or named as a class.
Most languages have names for the colors black, white, red, and green.
  1. Hue as opposed to achromatic colors (black, white and greys).
He referred to the white flag as one "drained of all ".
  1. Human skin tone, especially as an indicator of race or ethnicity.
Color has been a sensitive issue in many societies.
  1. (figuratively) interest, especially in a selective area.
a bit of local .
  1. In corporate finance, details on sales, profit margins, or other financial figures, especially while reviewing quarterly results when an officer of a company is speaking to investment analyists.
Could you give me some with regards to which products made up the mix of revenue for this quarter?
  1. (physics) A property of quarks, with three values called red, green, and blue, which they can exchange by passing gluons.
(color-colour (noun))
  1. To give something color.
We could the walls red.
  1. To draw within the boundaries of a line drawing using colored markers or crayons.
My kindergartener loves to .
  1. (context, of a face) To become red through increased blood flow.
  2. To affect without completely changing.
That interpretation certainly colors my perception of the book.
  1. To attribute a quality to.
(colloquial) Color me confused. (color-colour (verb))
  1. Conveying color, as opposed to shades of gray.
Color television and movies were considered a great improvement over black and white.
commitment Tweet Definition of commitment Like Definition of commitment on Facebook
  1. The act or an instance of committing, putting in charge, keeping, or trust, especially:
    • The act of sending a legislative bill to committee for review
    • Official consignment sending a person to prison or a mental health institution
      1. Promise or agreement to do something in the future, especially:
    • Assuming a financial obligation at a future date
      1. Being bound emotionally/intellectually to a course of action or to another person/other persons.
      2. Perpetration, in a negative manner, as in a crime or mistake.
      3. State of being pledged or engaged.
      4. The trait of sincerity and focused purpose.
committee Tweet Definition of committee Like Definition of committee on Facebook
  1. a group of persons convened for the accomplishment of some specific purpose, typically with formal protocols
  2. (archaic) a guardian; someone in charge of another person deemed to be unable to look after himself or herself.
common Tweet Definition of common Like Definition of common on Facebook
  1. mutual, Mutual good, shared by more than one.
  2. a tract of land in common ownership
adjective (er, more)
  1. mutual, Mutual; shared by more than one.
The two competitors have the aim of winning the championship.
Winning the championship is an aim to the two competitors.
  1. occur, Occurring or happening regularly or frequently; usual.
It is to find sharks off this coast.
  1. found, Found in large numbers or in a large quantity.
Sharks are in these waters.
  1. simple, Simple, ordinary or vulgar.
  2. (grammar) In some languages, particularly Germanic languages, of the gender originating from the coalescence of the masculine and feminine categories of nouns.
  3. Of or pertaining to uncapitalized nouns in English, i.e., common nouns vs. proper nouns
common law Tweet Definition of common law Like Definition of common law on Facebook
  1. A law or system of laws based on judicial precedent rather than written laws.
common-law Tweet Definition of common-law Like Definition of common-law on Facebook
  1. of or pertaining to common law
  2. relating to common-law marriage
competency Tweet Definition of competency Like Definition of competency on Facebook
noun (competenc, ies)
  1. The ability to perform some task.
  2. Meeting specified qualifications to perform.
  3. (linguistics) Sub-conscious knowledge of a native language's structure.
competent Tweet Definition of competent Like Definition of competent on Facebook
  1. Having sufficient skill, knowledge, ability, or qualifications.
He is a skier and an expert snowboarder.
complainant Tweet Definition of complainant Like Definition of complainant on Facebook
  1. the party that brings a civil lawsuit against another; the plaintiff
complaint Tweet Definition of complaint Like Definition of complaint on Facebook
  1. :In a civil action, the first pleading of the plaintiff setting out the facts on which the claim is based;<br>The purpose is to give notice to the adversary of the nature and basis of the claim asserted.
  2. :In Criminal law, the preliminary charge or accusation made by one person against another to the appropriate court or officer, usually a magistrate.<br>However, court proceedings, such as a trial, cannot be instituted until an indictment or information has been handed down against the defendant.
  3. a grievance, problem, difficulty, or concern; the act of complaining
I have no complaints about the quality of his work, but I don't enjoy his company.
  1. a bodily disorder or disease; the symptom of such a disorder
Don't come too close, I've got this nasty .
compound Tweet Definition of compound Like Definition of compound on Facebook
  1. an enclosure within which workers, prisoners, or soldiers are confined
  1. (intransitive) to come together
  2. (intransitive) to come to terms of agreement
  3. (transitive) to put together
  4. (transitive) to add to
  5. (context, transitive, law) to settle by agreeing on less than the claim
  1. composed of elements; not simple
conclusion Tweet Definition of conclusion Like Definition of conclusion on Facebook
  1. The end, finish, close or last part of something.
  2. The outcome or result of a process or act.
  3. A decision reached after careful thought.
  4. (logic) In a syllogism, the proposition that follows as a necessary consequence of the premises.
condemn Tweet Definition of condemn Like Definition of condemn on Facebook
  1. (transitive) To confer some sort of eternal divine punishment upon.
  2. (transitive) To mark (a building, for example) for destruction.
The house was condemned after it was badly damaged by fire.
  1. (transitive) To scold sharply.
condemnation Tweet Definition of condemnation Like Definition of condemnation on Facebook
  1. The act of condemning or pronouncing to be wrong; censure; blame; disapprobation.
  2. The act of judicially condemning, or adjudging guilty, unfit for use, or forfeited; the act of dooming to punishment or forfeiture.
  3. The state of being condemned.
  4. The ground or reason of condemning.
conservator Tweet Definition of conservator Like Definition of conservator on Facebook
  1. One who conserves, preserves or protects.
conspiracy Tweet Definition of conspiracy Like Definition of conspiracy on Facebook
noun (conspiracies)
  1. act of two or more persons, conspirators, working in secret to obtain some goal, usually understood with negative connotations.
  2. an agreement among conspirators.
  3. a group of persons, conspirators, working in secret to obtain some goal.
  4. an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future.
  5. (rfd-sense, doesn't mean this by itself without context) a plot to overthrow a government or other powers
  6. (rfd-sense, nonsense) the ability to have the material means and a motive to commit an act against the law
  7. a group of ravens
contestant Tweet Definition of contestant Like Definition of contestant on Facebook
  1. A participant in a contest
continuance Tweet Definition of continuance Like Definition of continuance on Facebook
  1. the action of continuing
contraband Tweet Definition of contraband Like Definition of contraband on Facebook
  1. any goods which are illicit or illegal to possess
  2. goods which are prohibited from being traded, smuggled goods
  3. an escaped slave during the Civil War who was taken behind Union lines
  1. (rfv-sense) prohibited from being traded
    • 1940 - The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America: Having ... - Division of the Federal Register, the National Archives - Page 2191
      "... when the seizure is made in connection with a violation involving a article covered by section 1 (b) (1) of the said Act; ..."
    • 1953 - United States, United States. President, United States. Congress - United States Code Congressional and Administrative News - Page 2039
      "The exclusion of mandatory payment of moieties for seizures of controlled substances is accomplished through Section 17 of the bill, ..."
    • 1899 - Albert William Chaster - The Powers, Duties and Liabilities of Executive Officers as Between These ... - Stevens and Haynes - Page 55
      "4. Contraband goods may be seized if found in a river before they are landed or offered for sale."
convention Tweet Definition of convention Like Definition of convention on Facebook
  1. The gerund (verbal noun) of to convene; a meeting or a gathering.
  2. (italbrac, often with "by") A protocol; a preferred method of accomplishing a task.
conventional Tweet Definition of conventional Like Definition of conventional on Facebook
  1. ordinary, commonplace
conversation Tweet Definition of conversation Like Definition of conversation on Facebook
  1. Expression and exchange of individual ideas; talking with other people.
  2. (fencing) The back-and-forth play of the blades in a bout.
convert Tweet Definition of convert Like Definition of convert on Facebook
  1. A person who has converted his or her religion.
They were all converts to Islam.
  1. A person who is now in favour of something that he or she previously opposed or disliked.
I never really liked broccoli before, but now that I've tasted it the way you cook it, I'm a convert!
  1. To transform or change (something) into another form, substance, state, or product.
A kettle converts water into steam.
  1. To change (something) from one use, function, or purpose to another
He converted his garden into a tennis court.
  1. To induce (someone) to adopt a particular religion, faith, or belief
They converted her to Roman Catholicism on her deathbed.
  1. To exchange for something of equal value.
We converted our pounds into euros.
  1. To express (a quantity) in alternative units.
How do you feet into metres?
  1. (rugby football) To score a conversion.
  2. (ten-pin bowling) To score a spare.
convey Tweet Definition of convey Like Definition of convey on Facebook
  1. To transport; to carry; to take from one place to another.
  2. To communicate; to make known.
  3. To transfer legal rights (to).
He conveyed ownership of the company to his daugther.
conveyancer Tweet Definition of conveyancer Like Definition of conveyancer on Facebook
  1. An attorney who passes transfer of immovable property from one party to another.
    • 2006 "Conveyancers in Cape Town are furious over long delays holding up the issue of rates clearance certificates by the City of Cape Town that are playing havoc with property transfers and deed registrations." Weekend Argus June 24 2006
convict Tweet Definition of convict Like Definition of convict on Facebook
  1. A person convicted of a crime by a judicial body.
  2. A person transported to a penal colony.
verb (rfc-level, Verb at L4+ not in L3 POS section)
  1. (transitive) To find guilty of a crime as a result of legal proceedings.
copyright Tweet Definition of copyright Like Definition of copyright on Facebook
noun (uncountable and countable. plural: copyrights)
  1. (uncountable) The right by law to be the entity which determines who may publish, copy and distribute a piece of writing, music, picture or other work of authorship.
  2. (countable) Such an exclusive right as it pertains to one or more specific works.
  3. (countable) The copyright symbol ©, a circumscribed C.
  1. To place under a copyright.
  2. To obtain or secure a copyright for some literary or other artistic work.
corporal punishment Tweet Definition of corporal punishment Like Definition of corporal punishment on Facebook
  1. A form of punishment achieved by inflicting blows to the victim's body.
corpus juris Tweet Definition of corpus juris Like Definition of corpus juris on Facebook
  1. the entire body of laws of a country or of a particular court
corrupt Tweet Definition of corrupt Like Definition of corrupt on Facebook
  1. (transitive) To make
    1. Adjective, corrupt; to change from good to bad; to draw away from the right path; to deprave; to pervert.
    Don't you dare my son with those disgusting pictures!
  1. In a depraved state; debased; perverted; morally degenerate; weak in morals.
The Government here is , so we'll emigrate to escape them.
  1. With lots of errors in it; not genuine or correct; in an invalid state.
The text of the manuscript is .
It turned out that the program was - that's why it wouldn't open.
  1. In a putrid state; spoiled; tainted; vitiated; unsound.
Who with such and pestilent bread would feed them.
corruption of blood Tweet Definition of corruption of blood Like Definition of corruption of blood on Facebook
  1. the doctrine in English common law that someone attainder, attainted of felony or treason has corrupt blood and so cannot inherit property and has no legal heirs
counsel Tweet Definition of counsel Like Definition of counsel on Facebook
  1. The exchange of opinions and advice; consultation
  2. Advice or guidance so given
  3. A lawyer, as in Queen's Counsel (QC)
  1. To give advice, especially professional advice.
The lawyer counselled his client to remain silent.
Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health professionals counsel clients.
  1. To recommend
count Tweet Definition of count Like Definition of count on Facebook
  1. The male ruler of a county. Also known as an earl, especially in England. (The female equivalent is countess.)
  2. The result of a tally that reveals the number of items in a set.
  3. A countdown.
  4. A charge of misconduct brought in a legal proceeding.
  1. (intransitive): To enumerate the digits of one's numeral system.
Can you to a hundred?
  1. (transitive): To determine the number (of objects in a group.)
There are three apples; them.
  1. (intransitive) to matter
Your views don't here
  1. (intransitive) to be an example of something
Apples as a type of fruit
  1. (transitive) to consider something an example of something
I apples as a type of fruit
counterpart Tweet Definition of counterpart Like Definition of counterpart on Facebook
  1. something that resembles something else, or has corresponding functions or characteristics
  2. either of two parts that fit together, or complement one another
country Tweet Definition of country Like Definition of country on Facebook
noun (countries)
  1. A nation state, a political entity asserting ultimate authority over a geographical area.
Australia is both a and a continent.
  1. A former independent nation state (e.g., England or Scotland).
  2. (usually preceded by the) A rural area, as opposed to a town or city; countryside.
I come from the &mdash; I'd hate to live in the city now, I'm so used to the woodland and meadows.
These animals are now found only in the high .
  1. Short for country music, a genre of popular music that has rural Southern roots and embraces numerous subgenres and styles.
  1. From the countryside or connected with it.
  2. Of or connected to country music.
courthouse Tweet Definition of courthouse Like Definition of courthouse on Facebook
  1. A public building housing courts of law.
  2. The public building where most American counties have their county offices.
courtroom Tweet Definition of courtroom Like Definition of courtroom on Facebook
  1. The room where a judge presides over hearings and trials, sometimes with a jury.
covenant Tweet Definition of covenant Like Definition of covenant on Facebook
  1. (legal) An agreement to do or not do a particular thing.
  2. (legal) A promise, incidental to a deed or contract, either express or implied.
    1. A pact or binding agreement between two or more parties.
    2. An incidental clause in an agreement.
    3. (biblical) God's promise to humanity after the Flood, symbolised by the rainbow.
    4. (biblical) God's promise to Israel in both the Old Testament and the New Testament that He would redeem the nation of Israel, give Israel the land of Zion, and "appear in his glory" and "come out of Zion" when "all Israel shall be saved" (cf. Psalm 201:15-18, Romans 11:25-27).
    5. (biblical) God's general promise of salvation to the faithful as taught in the Bible.
  1. to enter into, or promise something by, a covenant
  1. (legal) To enter a formal agreement.
  2. (legal) To bind oneself in contract.
  3. (legal) To make a stipulation.
covert Tweet Definition of covert Like Definition of covert on Facebook
  1. area of thick undergrowth where animals hide
  1. half-hidden, disguised, secret, surreptitious
  2. covered
crime Tweet Definition of crime Like Definition of crime on Facebook
  1. An act committed in violation of the law.
  2. The practice or habit of committing crimes.
Crime doesn"t pay.
criminal Tweet Definition of criminal Like Definition of criminal on Facebook
  1. a person who is guilty of breaking the law
  1. being against the law
  2. guilty of breaking the law
  3. relative to crime
criminal law Tweet Definition of criminal law Like Definition of criminal law on Facebook
  1. The area of law pertaining to crime and punishment.
cross-examine Tweet Definition of cross-examine Like Definition of cross-examine on Facebook
verb to cross-examine (transitive and intransitive)
  1. to question (someone) closely in order to verify facts, or information previously given
  2. to question a trial witness, who has already been questioned by the other side
culprit Tweet Definition of culprit Like Definition of culprit on Facebook
  1. The person or thing at fault for a problem or crime.
I tightened the loose bolt that was the ; it should work now.
curator Tweet Definition of curator Like Definition of curator on Facebook
  1. A person who manages, administers or organizes a collection - at a museum, library, archive or zoo.
curtilage Tweet Definition of curtilage Like Definition of curtilage on Facebook
  1. the area immediately surrounding a house
customary Tweet Definition of customary Like Definition of customary on Facebook
  1. A book containing laws and usages, or customs; as, the Customary of the Normans.
  1. Agreeing with, or established by, custom; established by common usage; conventional; habitual.
  2. Holding or held by custom; as, customary tenants; customary service or estate.

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