Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th Edition, launches today
For more than a century, Black’s Law Dictionary has been the gold standard for the language of law. Today, Thomson Reuters released the enhanced 10th Edition.
Edited by Bryan A. Garner, the world’s leading legal lexicographer, the 10th Edition is the most authoritative, comprehensive law dictionary ever published. It contains more than 50,000 terms, including 7,500 new ones. In addition, there are more than 16,000 new definitions and expanded bibliographic coverage, with more than twice as many sources quoted and cited than in the 9th Edition. The earliest usage dates in English-language contexts for nearly all terms are also included; Black’s is the only legal dictionary with this feature.
Its namesake comes from its founder Henry Campbell Black who published the first edition in 1891. Today, it is the reference of choice for legal briefs and court opinions as well as being cited as a secondary legal authority in U.S. Supreme Court cases. Check out a timeline here of all previous editions of Black’s Law Dictionary by date.
Professor Garner took some time to answer a few questions about the significance of the 10th Edition in a special Legal Current podcast, which can be heard by clicking here.
Below are just a few of the new terms that have been added to the 10th Edition:
Affluenza defense: A newfangled legal defense, generally not recognized, that a youthful offender cannot be held responsible for criminal acts because the wealthy environment for which he or she was reared precluded any learning about right vs. wrong.
Benchslap: A judge’s sharp rebuke of counsel, a litigant, or perhaps another judge, esp., a scathing remark from a judge or magistrate to an attorney after an objection from opposing counsel has been sustained.
Cryptanalysis: The scrutiny of coded messages, especially linguistic codes involving plentiful slang, for the purpose of understanding communications among participants in organized crime.
Gazump: The improper sale of a house, usually by raising the price and selling to a different buyer after accepting an earlier offer.
Intrapreneur: An employee for a large company whose job is to develop innovative ideas or ways of doing business for that company.
Legaldegook: Complicated legal language, especially of the willfully obscure type, usually found in various types of poor legal writing, including bad law reviews, bad treatises, bad regulations, bad statutes, all of which are sometimes prepared by inexpert writers whose purpose seems to be something other than clear and easy communication.
Mommy track: A career path that allows a mother to work under less stringent performance requirements with the understanding that she will probably have a more limited salary and less opportunity for advancement.
- The principle that a person or entity gets only one chance to assert the same rights or bring the same claims. Also termed one-bite-at-the-apple rule.
- A common-law rule or statutory provision holding a dog-owner responsible for any harm or injury caused by the dog only if the owner knows or has reason to know that the dog is dangerous.
Psephology: The study of how people vote in elections.
Unperson: Someone who for ideological or political reasons is so marginalized as to be removed completely from consideration or even recognition.
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Hi SUSAN, what branch of Government is making “Blak’s Law Dictionary” books?
Thanks for your attention.
Black’s Law Dictionary is privately published. That is no different than a private company publishing Merriam Websters dictionary. However, a legal dictionary is based on case law where courts decide what words mean in a legal sense compared to what words mean in real life to normal people.
Below is a simple example of how in court words do not mean the same thing that a normal dictionary defines them as.
If you think a passenger means anyone who comes with you for a ride it does not mean that in court. Legally speaking a passenger pays to go for a ride. A guest goes on a ride with no charge for the ride.