Law Dictionary – Legal Words ( A )

abase –  To lower in position, estimation, or the like; degrade.

abbess –  The lady superior of a nunnery.

abbey –  The group of buildings which collectively form the dwelling-place of a society of monks or nuns.

abbot –  The superior of a community of monks.

abdicate –  To give up (royal power or the like).

abdomen –  In mammals, the visceral cavity between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor;the belly.

abdominal –  Of, pertaining to, or situated on the abdomen.

abduction –  A carrying away of a person against his will, or illegally.

abed –  In bed; on a bed.

aberration –  Deviation from a right, customary, or prescribed course.

abet –  To aid, promote, or encourage the commission of (an offense).

abeyance –  A state of suspension or temporary inaction.

abhorrence –  The act of detesting extremely.

abhorrent –  Very repugnant; hateful.

abidance –  An abiding.

abject –  Sunk to a low condition.

abjure –  To recant, renounce, repudiate under oath.

able-bodied –  Competent for physical service.

ablution –  A washing or cleansing, especially of the body.

abnegate –  To renounce (a right or privilege).

abnormal –  Not conformed to the ordinary rule or standard.

abominable –  Very hateful.

abominate –  To hate violently.

abomination –  A very detestable act or practice.

aboriginal –  Primitive; unsophisticated.

aborigines –  The original of earliest known inhabitants of a country.

aboveboard –  & –  Without concealment, fraud, or trickery.

abrade –  To wear away the surface or some part of by friction.

abrasion –  That which is rubbed off.

abridge –  To make shorter in words, keeping the essential features, leaning out minor particles.

abridgment –  A condensed form as of a book or play.

abrogate –  To abolish, repeal.

abrupt –  Beginning, ending, or changing suddenly or with a break.

abscess –  A Collection of pus in a cavity formed within some tissue of the body.

abscission –  The act of cutting off, as in a surgical operation.

abscond –  To depart suddenly and secretly, as for the purpose of escaping arrest.

absence –  The fact of not being present or available.

absent-minded –  Lacking in attention to immediate surroundings or business.

absolution –  Forgiveness, or passing over of offenses.

absolve –  To free from sin or its penalties.

absorb –  To drink in or suck up, as a sponge absorbs water.

absorption –  The act or process of absorbing.

abstain –  To keep oneself back (from doing or using something).

abstemious –  Characterized by self denial or abstinence, as in the use of drink, food.

abstinence –  Self denial.

abstruse –  Dealing with matters difficult to be understood.

absurd –  Inconsistent with reason or common sense.

abundant –  Plentiful.

abusive –  Employing harsh words or ill treatment.

abut –  To touch at the end or boundary line.

abyss –  Bottomless gulf.

academic –  Of or pertaining to an academy, college, or university.

academician –  A member of an academy of literature, art, or science.

academy –  Any institution where the higher branches of learning are taught.

accede –  To agree.

accelerate –  To move faster.

accept –  To take when offered.

access –  A way of approach or entrance; passage.

accessible –  Approachable.

accession –  Induction or elevation, as to dignity, office, or government.

accessory –  A person or thing that aids the principal agent.

acclaim –  To utter with a shout.

accommodate –  To furnish something as a kindness or favor.

accompaniment –  A subordinate part or parts, enriching or supporting the leading part.

accompanist –  One who or that which accompanies.

accompany –  To go with, or be associated with, as a companion.

accomplice –  An associate in wrong-doing.

accomplish –  To bring to pass.

accordion –  A portable free-reed musical instrument.

accost –  To speak to.

account –  A record or statement of receipts and expenditures, or of business transactions.

accouter –  To dress.

accredit –  To give credit or authority to.

accumulate –  To become greater in quantity or number.

accuracy –  Exactness.

accurate –  Conforming exactly to truth or to a standard.

accursed –  Doomed to evil, misery, or misfortune.

accusation –  A charge of crime, misdemeanor, or error.

accusatory –  Of, pertaining to, or involving an accusation.

accuse –  To charge with wrong doing, misconduct, or error.

accustom –  To make familiar by use.

acerbity –  Sourness, with bitterness and astringency.

acetate –  A salt of acetic acid.

acetic –  Of, pertaining to, or of the nature of vinegar.

ache –  To be in pain or distress.

Achillean –  Invulnerable.

achromatic –  Colorless,

acid –  A sour substance.

acidify –  To change into acid.

acknowledge –  To recognize; to admit the genuineness or validity of.

acknowledgment –  Recognition.

acme –  The highest point, or summit.

acoustic –  Pertaining to the act or sense of hearing.

acquaint –  To make familiar or conversant.

acquiesce –  To comply; submit.

acquiescence –  Passive consent.

acquire –  To get as one’s own.

acquisition –  Anything gained, or made one’s own, usually by effort or labor.

acquit –  To free or clear, as from accusation.

acquittal –  A discharge from accusation by judicial action.

acquittance –  Release or discharge from indebtedness, obligation, or responsibility.

acreage –  Quantity or extent of land, especially of cultivated land.

acrid –  Harshly pungent or bitter.

acrimonious –  Full of bitterness.

acrimony –  Sharpness or bitterness of speech or temper.

actionable –  Affording cause for instituting an action, as trespass, slanderous words.

actuality –  Any reality.

actuary –  An officer, as of an insurance company, who calculates and states the risks and premiums.

actuate –  To move or incite to action.

acumen –  Quickness of intellectual insight, or discernment; keenness of discrimination.

acute –  Having fine and penetrating discernment.

adamant –  Any substance of exceeding hardness or impenetrability.

addendum –  Something added, or to be added.

addle –  To make inefficient or worthless; muddle.

adduce –  To bring forward or name for consideration.

adhere –  To stick fast or together.

adherence –  Attachment.

adherent –  Clinging or sticking fast.

adhesion –  The state of being attached or joined.

adieu inter. Good-by; farewell.

adjacency –  The state of being adjacent.

adjacent –  That which is near or bordering upon.

adjudge –  To award or bestow by formal decision.

adjunct –  Something joined to or connected with another thing, but holding a subordinate place.

adjuration –  A vehement appeal.

adjutant –  Auxiliary.

administrator –  One who manages affairs of any kind.

admissible –  Having the right or privilege of entry.

admittance –  Entrance, or the right or permission to enter.

admonish –  To warn of a fault.

admonition –  Gentle reproof.

ado –  unnecessary activity or ceremony.

adoration –  Profound devotion.

adroit –  Having skill in the use of the bodily or mental powers.

adulterant –  An adulterating substance.

adulterate –  To make impure by the admixture of other or baser ingredients.

adumbrate –  To represent beforehand in outline or by emblem.

advent –  The coming or arrival, as of any important change, event, state, or personage.

adverse –  Opposing or opposed.

adversity –  Misfortune.

advert –  To refer incidentally.

advertiser –  One who advertises, especially in newspapers.

advisory –  Not mandatory.

advocacy –  The act of pleading a cause.

advocate –  One who pleads the cause of another, as in a legal or ecclesiastical court.

aerial –  Of, pertaining to, or like the air.

aeronaut –  One who navigates the air, a balloonist.

aeronautics –  the art or practice of flying aircraft

aerostat –  A balloon or other apparatus floating in or sustained by the air.

aerostatics –  The branch of pneumatics that treats of the equilibrium, pressure, and mechanical properties.

affable –  Easy to approach.

affect –  To act upon

affectation –  A studied or ostentatious pretense or attempt.

affiliate –  Some auxiliary person or thing.

affirmative –  Answering yes; to a question at issue.

affix –  To fasten.

affluence –  A profuse or abundant supply of riches.

affront –  An open insult or indignity.

afire –  & –  On fire, literally or figuratively.

afoot –  In progress.

aforesaid –  Said in a preceding part or before.

afresh –  Once more, after rest or interval.

afterthought –  A thought that comes later than its appropriate or expected time.

agglomerate –  To pile or heap together.

aggrandize –  To cause to appear greatly.

aggravate –  To make heavier, worse, or more burdensome.

aggravation –  The fact of being made heavier or more heinous, as a crime , offense, misfortune, etc.

aggregate –  The entire number, sum, mass, or quantity of something.

aggress –  To make the first attack.

aggression –  An unprovoked attack.

aggrieve –  To give grief or sorrow to.

aghast –  Struck with terror and amazement.

agile –  Able to move or act quickly, physically, or mentally.

agitate –  To move or excite (the feelings or thoughts).

agrarian –  Pertaining to land, especially agricultural land.

aide-de-camp –  An officer who receives and transmits the orders of the general.

ailment –  Slight sickness.

airy –  Delicate, ethereal.

akin –  Of similar nature or qualities.

alabaster –  A white or delicately tinted fine-grained gypsum.

alacrity –  Cheerful willingness.

albeit conj. Even though.

albino –  A person with milky white skin and hair, and eyes with bright red pupil and usually pink iris.

album –  A book whose leaves are so made to form paper frames for holding photographs or the like.

alchemy –  Chemistry of the middle ages, characterized by the pursuit of changing base metals to gold.

alcohol –  A volatile, inflammable, colorless liquid of a penetrating odor and burning taste.

alcoholism –  A condition resulting from the inordinate or persistent use of alcoholic beverages.

alcove –  A covered recess connected with or at the side of a larger room.

alder –  Any shrub or small tree of the genus Alumnus, of the oak family.

alderman –  A member of a municipal legislative body, who usually exercises also certain judicial functions.

aldermanship –  The dignity, condition, office, or term of office of an alderman.

alias –  An assumed name.

alien –  One who owes allegiance to a foreign government.

alienable –  Capable of being aliened or alienated, as lands.

alienate –  To cause to turn away.

alienation –  Estrangement.

aliment –  That which nourishes.

alkali –  Anything that will neutralize an acid, as lime, magnesia, etc.

allay –  To calm the violence or reduce the intensity of; mitigate.

allege –  To assert to be true, especially in a formal manner, as in court.

allegory –  The setting forth of a subject under the guise of another subject of aptly suggestive likeness.

alleviate –  To make less burdensome or less hard to bear.

alley –  A narrow street, garden path, walk, or the like.

alliance –  Any combination or union for some common purpose.

allot –  To assign a definite thing or part to a certain person.

allotment –  Portion.

allude –  To refer incidentally, or by suggestion.

allusion –  An indirect and incidental reference to something without definite mention of it.

alluvion –  Flood.

ally –  A person or thing connected with another, usually in some relation of helpfulness.

almanac –  A series of tables giving the days of the week together with certain astronomical information.

aloof –  Not in sympathy with or desiring to associate with others.

altar –  Any raised place or structure on which sacrifices may be offered or incense burned.

alter –  To make change in.

alteration –  Change or modification.

altercate –  To contend angrily or zealously in words.

alternate –  One chosen to act in place of another, in case of the absence or incapacity of that other.

alternative –  Something that may or must exist, be taken or chosen, or done instead of something else.

altitude –  Vertical distance or elevation above any point or base-level, as the sea.

alto –  The lowest or deepest female voice or part.

altruism –  Benevolence to others on subordination to self-interest.

altruist –  One who advocates or practices altruism.

amalgam –  An alloy or union of mercury with another metal.

amalgamate –  To mix or blend together in a homogeneous body.

amateur –  Practicing an art or occupation for the love of it, but not as a profession.

amatory –  Designed to excite love.

ambidextrous –  Having the ability of using both hands with equal skill or ease.

ambiguous –  Having a double meaning.

ambitious –  Eagerly desirous and aspiring.

ambrosial –  Divinely sweet, fragrant, or delicious.

ambulance –  A vehicle fitted for conveying the sick and wounded.

ambulate –  To walk about

ambush –  The act or state of lying concealed for the purpose of surprising or attacking the enemy.

ameliorate –  To relieve, as from pain or hardship

amenable –  Willing and ready to submit.

Americanism –  A peculiar sense in which an English word or phrase is used in the United States.

amicable –  Done in a friendly spirit.

amity –  Friendship.

amorous –  Having a propensity for falling in love.

amorphous –  Without determinate shape.

amour –  A love-affair, especially one of an illicit nature.

ampere –  The practical unit of electric-current strength.

ampersand –  The character &; and.

amphibious –  Living both on land and in water.

amphitheater –  An edifice of elliptical shape, constructed about a central open space or arena.

amplitude –  Largeness.

amply –  Sufficiently.

amputate –  To remove by cutting, as a limb or some portion of the body.

amusement –  Diversion.

anachronism –  Anything occurring or existing out of its proper time.

anagram –  The letters of a word or phrase so transposed as to make a different word or phrase.

analogous –  Corresponding (to some other) in certain respects, as in form, proportion,relations.

analogy –  Reasoning in which from certain and known relations or resemblance others are formed.

analyst –  One who analyzes or makes use of the analytical method.

analyze –  To examine minutely or critically.

anarchy –  Absence or utter disregard of government.

anathema –  Anything forbidden, as by social usage.

anatomy –  That branch of morphology which treats of the structure of organisms.

ancestry –  One’s ancestors collectively.

anecdote –  A brief account of some interesting event or incident.

anemia –  Deficiency of blood or red corpuscles.

anemic –  Affected with anemia.

anemometer –  An instrument for measuring the force or velocity of wind.

anesthetic –  Pertaining to or producing loss of sensation.

anew –  Once more.

angelic –  Saintly.

Anglophobia –  Hatred or dread of England or of what is English.

AngloSaxon –  The entire English race wherever found, as in Europe, the United States, or India.

angular –  Sharp-cornered.

anhydrous –  Withered.

animadversion –  The utterance of criticism or censure.

animadvert –  To pass criticism or censure.

animalcule –  An animal of microscopic smallness.

animate –  To make alive.

animosity –  Hatred.

annalist –  Historian.

annals –  A record of events in their chronological order, year by year.

annex –  To add or affix at the end.

annihilate –  To destroy absolutely.

annotate –  To make explanatory or critical notes on or upon.

annual –  Occurring every year.

annuity –  An annual allowance, payment, or income.

annunciation –  Proclamation.

anode –  The point where or path by which a voltaic current enters an electrolyte or the like.

anonymous –  Of unknown authorship.

antagonism –  Mutual opposition or resistance of counteracting forces, principles, or persons.

Antarctic –  Pertaining to the south pole or the regions near it.

ante –  In the game of poker, to put up a stake before the cards are dealt.

antecede –  To precede.

antecedent –  One who or that which precedes or goes before, as in time, place, rank, order, or causality.

antechamber –  A waiting room for those who seek audience.

antedate –  To assign or affix a date to earlier than the actual one.

antediluvian –  Of or pertaining to the times, things, events before the great flood in the days of Noah.

antemeridian –  Before noon.

antemundane –  Pertaining to time before the world’s creation.

antenatal –  Occurring or existing before birth.

anterior –  Prior.

anteroom –  A room situated before and opening into another, usually larger.

anthology –  A collection of extracts from the writings of various authors.

anthracite –  Hard coal.

anthropology –  The science of man in general.

anthropomorphous –  Having or resembling human form.

antic –  A grotesque, ludicrous, or fantastic action.

Antichrist –  Any opponent or enemy of Christ, whether a person or a power.

anticlimax –  A gradual or sudden decrease in the importance or impressiveness of what is said.

anticyclone –  An atmospheric condition of high central pressure, with currents flowing outward.

antidote –  Anything that will counteract or remove the effects of poison, disease, or the like.

antilogy –  Inconsistency or contradiction in terms or ideas.

antipathize –  To show or feel a feeling of antagonism, aversion, or dislike.

antiphon –  A response or alteration of responses, generally musical.

antiphony –  An anthem or other composition sung responsively.

antipodes –  A place or region on the opposite side of the earth.

antiquary –  One who collects and examines old things, as coins, books, medals, weapons, etc.

antiquate –  To make old or out of date.

antique –  Pertaining to ancient times.

antiseptic –  Anything that destroys or restrains the growth of putrefactive micro- organisms.

antislavery –  Opposed to human slavery.

antispasmodic –  Tending to prevent or relieve non-inflammatory spasmodic affections.

antistrophe –  The inversion of terms in successive classes, as in “the home of joy” and “the joy of home”.

antitoxin –  A substance which neutralizes the poisonous products of micro-organisms.

antonym –  A word directly opposed to another in meaning.

anxious –  Distressed in mind respecting some uncertain matter.

apathy –  Insensibility to emotion or passionate feeling.

aperture –  Hole.

apex –  The highest point, as of a mountain.

aphorism –  Proverb.

apiary –  A place where bees are kept.

apogee –  The climax.

apology –  A disclaimer of intentional error or offense.

apostasy –  A total departure from one’s faith or religion.

apostate –  False.

apostle –  Any messenger commissioned by or as by divine authority.

apothecary –  One who keeps drugs for sale and puts up prescriptions.

apotheosis –  Deification.

appall –  To fill with dismay or horror.

apparent –  Easily understood.

apparition –  Ghost.

appease –  To soothe by quieting anger or indignation.

appellate –  Capable of being appealed to.

appellation –  The name or title by which a particular person, class, or thing is called.

append –  To add or attach, as something accessory, subordinate, or supplementary.

appertain –  To belong, as by right, fitness, association, classification, possession, or natural relation.

apposite –  Appropriate.

apposition –  The act of placing side by side, together, or in contact.

appraise –  To estimate the money value of.

appreciable –  Capable of being discerned by the senses or intellect.

apprehend –  To make a prisoner of (a person) in the name of the law.

apprehensible –  Capable of being conceived.

approbation –  Sanction.

appropriate –  Suitable for the purpose and circumstances.

aqueduct –  A water-conduit, particularly one for supplying a community from a distance.

aqueous –  Of, pertaining to, or containing water.

arbiter –  One chosen or appointed, by mutual consent of parties in dispute, to decide matters.

arbitrary –  Fixed or done capriciously.

arbitrate –  To act or give judgment as umpire.

arbor –  A tree.

arboreal –  Of or pertaining to a tree or trees.

arborescent –  Having the nature of a tree.

arboretum –  A botanical garden or place devoted to the cultivation of trees or shrubs.

arboriculture –  The cultivation of trees or shrubs.

arcade –  A vaulted passageway or street; a roofed passageway having shops, etc., opening from it.

archaic –  Antiquated

archaism –  Obsolescence.

archangel –  An angel of high rank.

archbishop –  The chief of the bishops of an ecclesiastical province in the Greek, Roman, and Anglican church.

archdeacon –  A high official administrator of the affairs of a diocese.

archaeology –  The branch of anthropology concerned with the systematic investigation of the relics of man.

archetype –  A prototype.

archipelago –  Any large body of water studded with islands, or the islands collectively themselves.

ardent –  Burning with passion.

ardor –  Intensity of passion or affection.

arid –  Very dry.

aristocracy –  A hereditary nobility

aristocrat –  A hereditary noble or one nearly connected with nobility.

armada –  A fleet of war-vessels.

armful –  As much as can be held in the arm or arms.

armory –  An arsenal.

aroma –  An agreeable odor.

arraign –  To call into court, as a person indicted for crime, and demand whether he pleads guilty or not.

arrange –  To put in definite or proper order.

arrangement –  The act of putting in proper order, or the state of being put in order.

arrant –  Notoriously bad.

arrear –  Something overdue and unpaid.

arrival –  A coming to stopping-place or destination.

arrogant –  Unduly or excessively proud, as of wealth, station, learning, etc.

arrogate –  To take, demand, or claim, especially presumptuously or without reasons or grounds.

Artesian well –  A very deep bored well. water rises due to underground pressure

artful –  Characterized by craft or cunning.

Arthurian –  Pertaining to King Arthur, the real or legendary hero of British poetic story.

artifice –  Trickery.

artless –  Ingenuous.

ascendant –  Dominant.

ascension –  The act of rising.

ascent –  A rising, soaring, or climbing.

ascetic –  Given to severe self-denial and practicing excessive abstinence and devotion.

ascribe –  To assign as a quality or attribute.

asexual –  Having no distinct sexual organs.

ashen –  Pale.

askance –  With a side or indirect glance or meaning.

asperity –  Harshness or roughness of temper.

aspirant –  One who seeks earnestly, as for advancement, honors, place.

aspiration –  An earnest wish for that which is above one’s present reach.

aspire –  To have an earnest desire, wish, or longing, as for something high and good, not yet attained.

assailant –  One who attacks.

assassin –  One who kills, or tries to kill, treacherously or secretly.

assassinate –  To kill, as by surprise or secret assault, especially the killing of some eminent person.

assassination –  Murderer, as by secret assault or treachery.

assay –  The chemical analysis or testing of an alloy ore.

assent –  To express agreement with a statement or matter of opinion.

assess –  To determine the amount of (a tax or other sum to be paid).

assessor –  An officer whose duty it is to assess taxes.

assets –  pl. Property in general, regarded as applicable to the payment of debts.

assiduous –  Diligent.

assignee –  One who is appointed to act for another in the management of certain property and interests.

assimilate –  To adapt.

assonance –  Resemblance or correspondence in sound.

assonant –  Having resemblance of sound.

assonate –  To accord in sound, especially vowel sound.

assuage –  To cause to be less harsh, violent, or severe, as excitement, appetite, pain, or disease.

astringent –  Harsh in disposition or character.

astute –  Keen in discernment.

atheism –  The denial of the existence of God.

athirst –  Wanting water.

athwart –  From side to side.

atomizer –  An apparatus for reducing a liquid to a fine spray, as for disinfection, inhalation, etc.

atone –  To make amends for.

atonement –  Amends, reparation, or expiation made from wrong or injury.

atrocious –  Outrageously or wantonly wicked, criminal, vile, or cruel.

atrocity –  Great cruelty or reckless wickedness.

attaché –  A subordinate member of a diplomatic embassy.

attest –  To certify as accurate, genuine, or true.

attorney-general –  The chief law-officer of a government.

auburn –  Reddish-brown, said usually of the hair.

audacious –  Fearless.

audible –  Loud enough to be heard.

audition –  The act or sensation of hearing.

auditory –  Of or pertaining to hearing or the organs or sense of hearing.

augment –  To make bigger.

augur –  To predict.

Augustinian –  Pertaining to St. Augustine, his doctrines, or the religious orders called after him.

aura –  Pervasive psychic influence supposed to emanate from persons

aural –  Of or pertaining to the ear.

auricle –  One of the two chambers of the heart which receives the blood from the veins.

auricular –  Of or pertaining to the ear, its auricle, or the sense of hearing.

auriferous –  Containing gold.

aurora –  A luminous phenomenon in the upper regions of the atmosphere.

auspice –  favoring, protecting, or propitious influence or guidance.

austere –  Severely simple; unadorned.

autarchy –  Unrestricted power.

authentic –  Of undisputed origin.

authenticity –  The state or quality of being genuine, or of the origin and authorship claimed.

autobiography –  The story of one’s life written by himself.

autocracy –  Absolute government.

autocrat –  Any one who claims or wields unrestricted or undisputed authority or influence.

automaton –  Any living being whose actions are or appear to be involuntary or mechanical.

autonomous –  Self-governing.

autonomy –  Self-government.

autopsy –  The examination of a dead body by dissection to ascertain the cause of death.

autumnal –  Of or pertaining to autumn.

auxiliary –  One who or that which aids or helps, especially when regarded as subsidiary or accessory.

avalanche –  The fall or sliding of a mass of snow or ice down a mountain-slope, often bearing with it rock.

avarice –  Passion for getting and keeping riches.

aver –  To assert as a fact.

averse –  Reluctant.

aversion –  A mental condition of fixed opposition to or dislike of some particular thing.

avert –  To turn away or aside.

aviary –  A spacious cage or enclosure in which live birds are kept.

avidity –  Greediness.

avocation –  Diversion.

avow –  To declare openly.

awaken –  To arouse, as emotion, interest, or the like.

awry –  & –  Out of the proper form, direction, or position.

aye –  An expression of assent.

azalea –  A flowering shrub.

azure –  The color of the sky.


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