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: to begin or commence (a legal proceeding) through proper legal procedure: as
a : to put (as a lawsuit) before a court [this is an action brought to recover damages]
b : to formally assert (as a charge or indictment) [whether to charges against him]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.