BLACK'S DICTIONARY OF LAW
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A LAW DICTIONARY CONTAINING
DEFINITIONS OF THE TERMS AND PHRASES OF AMERICAN AND ENGLISH
JURISPRUDENCE, ANCIENT AND MODERN AND INCLUDING THE PRINCIPAL TERMS OF
INTERNATIONAL, CONSTITUTIONAL, ECCLESIASTICAL AND COMMERCIAL LAW, AND
MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE, WITH A COLLECTION OF LEGAL MAXIMS, NUMEROUS
SELECT TITLES FROM THE ROMAN, MODERN CIVIL, SCOTCH, FRENCH, SPANISH,
AND MEXICAN LAW, AND OTHER FOREIGN SYSTEMS, 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
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ST. PAUL, MINN.
WEST PUBLISHING CO.
OOPYBIGHT, 1891 BT
WEST BUBLISHING COMPANY
OOPYBIGHT, 1910 BT
WEST PUBLISHING COMPANY (Bl.Law Dict.,2© 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 fhe 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. B.
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 encyclopaedic 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. O'f 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
also been given to definitions formulated by the appellate courts and embodied in the reports. Many of these judicial definitions have been literally copied and adopted as the author's definition of the particular term, of course with a proper reference. But as the constant aim has been to present a definition at once concise, comprehensive, accurate, and lucid, he has not felt bound to copy the language of the courts in any instance where, in his judgment, a better definition could be found in treatises of acknowledged authority, or could be framed by adaptation or re-arrangement. But many judicial interpretations have been added in the way of supplementary matter to the various titles.
The more important of the synonyms occurring in legal phraseology have been carefully discriminated. In some cases, it has only been necessary to point out the correct and incorrect uses of these pairs and groups of words. In other cases, the distinctions were found to be delicate or obscure, and a more minute analysis was required.
A complete collection of legal maxims has also been included, comprehending as well those in English and Law French as those expressed in the Latin. These have not been grouped in one body, but distributed in their proper alphabetical order through the book. This is believed to be the more convenient arrangement.
It remains to mention the sources from which the definitions herein contained have been principally derived. For the terms appertaining to old and middle
English law and the feudal polity, recourse has been had freely to the older English law dictionaries, (such as those of Cowell, Spelman, Blount, Jacob, Cunning
ham, Whishaw, Skene, Tomlins, and the "Termes de la Ley,") as also to the writings of Bracton, Littleton, Coke, and the other sages of the early law. The au
thorities principally relied on for the terms of the Roman and modern civil law are the dictionaries of Calvinus, Scheller, and Vicat, (with many valuable sug
gestions from Brown and Burrill), and the works of such authors as Mackel-dey, Hunter, Browne, Hallifax, Wolff, and Maine, besides constant reference to
Gaius and the Corpus Juris Civilis. In preparing the terms and phrases of French, Spanish, and Scotch law, much assistance has been derived from the
treatises of Pothier, Merlin, Toullier, Schmidt, Argles, Hall, White, and others,the commentaries of Erskine and Bell, and the dictionaries of Dalloz, Bell, and
Escriche. For the great body of terms used in modern English and American law, the author, besides searching the codes and statutes and the reports, as al
ready mentioned, has consulted the institutional writings of Blackstone, Kent, and Bouvier, and a very great number of text-books on special topics of the
law. An examination has also been made of the recent English law dictionaries of Wharton, Sweet, Brown, and Mozley & Whitley, and of the American lexi
cographers, Abbott, Anderson, Bouvier, Burrill, and Rapalje & Lawrence. In each case where aid is directly levied from these sources, a suitable acknowledg
ment has been made. This list of authorities is by no means exhaustive, nor does it make mention of the many cases in which the definition had to be written
entirely de novo; butjt will suffice to show the general direction and scope of the author's researches. H. C B.
Washington, D. C, August 1, 1891.
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