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FindLaw Legal Dictionary

The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



knowledge n

1 a : awareness or understanding esp. of an act, a fact, or the truth
: actual knowledge in this entry
b : awareness that a fact or circumstance probably exists
; broadly
: constructive knowledge in this entry see also scienter, willful blindness NOTE: Knowledge fundamentally differs from intent in being grounded in awareness rather than purpose.

ac·tu·al knowledge
1 : direct and clear awareness (as of a fact or condition) [the bank had actual knowledge that the name and account number referred to different persons]
2 : awareness of such information as would cause a reasonable person to inquire further
; specif
: such awareness considered as a timely and sufficient substitute for actual notice (as of a work-related injury or of a bankruptcy proceeding) [ruled that the employer did not have actual notice or actual knowledge within 90 days]

con·struc·tive knowledge
: knowledge (as of a condition or fact) that one using ordinary care or diligence would possess [had constructive knowledge of the presence of narcotics on his property]

per·son·al knowledge
: direct knowledge of a matter or of the truth or falsity of an allegation [a witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter "Federal Rules of Evidence Rule 602"]

su·pe·ri·or knowledge
: knowledge greater than that possessed by another
; esp
: awareness of a condition or fact that affects another who was not aware of it [denied having had superior knowledge of the hazard] [superior knowledge of a factor in the performance of a contract]
2 : the range of one's information, understanding, or expertise [answered to the best of his ]

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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