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A LAW DICTIONARY
DEFINITIONS OF THE TERMS AND PHRASES
DENCE, ANCIENT AND MODERN
THE PRINCIPAL TERMS OF INTERNATIONAL, CONSTITUTIONAL, ECCLESIASTICAL
AND A TABLE OF ABBREVIATIONS
HENRY CAMPBELL BLACK, M.A.
AUTHOR OF TREATISES ON JUDGMENTS, TAX TITLES, INTOXICATING LIQUORS,
BANKRUPTCY, MORTGAGES, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW,
INTERPRETATION OF LAWS, ETC.
ST. PAUL, MINN.
AUG 1 1 1950
WEST PUBLISHING COMPANY
WEST PUBLISITING COMPANY
(BL.LAW Dict.,20 ED.)
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
In the preparation of the present edition of this work, the author has taken pains, in response to a general demand in that behalf, to incorporate a very great number of additional citations to decided cases, in which the terms or phrases of the law have been judicially defined. The general plan, however, has not been to quote seriatim a number of such judicial definitions under each title or heading, but rather to frame a definition, or a series of alternative definitions, expressive of the best and clearest thinking and most accurate statements in the reports, and to cite in support of it a liberal selection of the best decisions, giving the preference to those in which the history of the word or phrase, in respect to its origin and use, is reviewed, or in which a large number of other decisions are cited. The author has also taken advantage of the opportunity to subject the entire work to a thorough revision, and has entirely rewritten many of the definitions, either because his fresh study of the subject matter or the helpful criticism of others had disclosed minor inaccuracies in them, or because he thought they could profitably be expanded or made more explicit, or because of new uses or meanings of the term. There have also been included a large number of new titles. Some of these are old terms of the law which had previously been overlooked, a considerable number are Latin and French words, ancient or modern, not heretofore inserted, and the remainder are terms new to the law, or which have come into use since the first edition was published, chiefly growing out of the new developments in the social, industrial, commercial, and political life of the people.
Particularly in the department of medical jurisprudence, the work has been enriched by the addition of a great number of definitions which are of constant interest and importance in the courts. Even in the course of the last few years medical science has made giant strides, and the new discoveries and theories have brought forth a new terminology, which is not only much more accurate but also much richer than the old; and in all the fields where law and medicine meet we now daily encounter a host of terms and phrases which, no more than a decade ago, were utterly unknown. This is true—to cite but a few examples of the new terminology of insanity, of pathological and criminal psychology, the innumerable forms of nervous disorders, the new tests and reactions, bacteriology, toxicology, and so on. In this whole department I have received much valuable assistance from my friend Dr. Fielding H. Garrison, of this city, to whose wide and thorough scientific learning I here pay cheerful tribute, as well as to his constant and obliging readiness to place at the command of his friends the resources of his well-stored mind.
Notwithstanding all these additions, it has been possible to keep the work within the limits of a single volume, and even to avoid materially increasing its bulk, by a new system of arrangement, which involves grouping all compound and descriptive terms and phrases under the main heading or title from which they are radically derived or with which they are conventionally associated, substantially in accordance with the plan adopted in the Century Dictionary and most other modern works of reference.
H. C. E. WASHINGTON, D. C., December 1, 1910.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION
The dictionary now offered to the .profession is the result of the author's endeavor to prepare a concise and yet comprehensive book of definitions of the terms, phrases, and maxims used in American and English law and necessary to be understood by the working lawyer and judge, as well as those important to the student of legal history or comparative jurisprudence. It does not purport to be an epitome or compilation of the body of the law. It does not invade the province of the text-books, nor attempt to supersede the institutional writings. Nor does it trench upon the field of the English dictionary, although vernacular words and phrases, so far as construed by the courts, are not excluded from its pages. Neither is the book encyclopædic in its character. It is chiefly required in a dictionary that it should be comprehensive. Its value is impaired if any single word that may reasonably be sought between its covers is not found there. But this comprehensiveness is possible (within the compass of a single volume) only on condition that whatever is foreign to the true function of a lexicon be rigidly excluded. The work must therefore contain nothing but the legitimate matter of a dictionary, or else it cannot include all the necessary terms. This purpose has been kept constantly in view in the preparation of the present work, Of the most esteemed law dictionaries now in use, each will be found to contain a very considerable number of words not defined in any other. None is quite comprehensive in itself. The author has made it his aim to include all these terms and phrases here, together with some not elsewhere defined.
For the convenience of those who desire to study the law in its historical development, as well as in its relations to political and social philosophy, place has been found for numerous titles of the old English law, and words used in old European and feudal law, and for the principal terminology of the Roman law. And in view of the modern interest in comparative jurisprudence and similar studies, it has seemed necessary to introduce a considerable vocabulary from the civil, canon, French, Spanish, Scotch, and Mexican law and other foreign systems. In order to further adapt the work to the advantage and convenience of all classes of users, many terms of political or public law are here defined, and such as are employed in trade, banking, and commerce, as also the principal phraseology of international and maritime law and forensic medicine. There have also been included numerous words taken from the vernacular, which, in consequence of their interpretation by the courts or in statutes, have acquired a quasi-technical meaning, or which, being frequently used in laws or private documents, have often been referred to the courts for construction. But the main body of the work is given to the definition of the technical terms and phrases used in modern American and English jurisprudence.
In searching for definitions suitable to be incorporated in the work, the author has carefully examined the codes, and the compiled or revised statutes, of the various states, and from these sources much valuable matter has been obtained. The definitions thus enacted by law are for the most part terse, practical, and of course authoritative. Most, if not all, of such statutory interpretations of words and phrases will be found under their appropriate titles. Due prominence has