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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.


F Reorganization
see reorganization
free on board
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure see also the Important Laws section
Federal Aviation Administration see also the Important Agencies section
-cat·ed -cat·ing vt : to make up (as testimony) with an intent to deceive vi : to make something up with an intent to deceive [there was a motive to "Gary Taylor"]
1 a : outward appearance b : the surface or superficial reading or meaning of something (as a document or statute) that does not take into account outside information [the of [the] deed reveals that ...
Face Amount
: the amount of money payable under an insurance policy at the time of a loss
Face Value
: the value indicated on the face of something (as a stock certificate)
: involving or apparent from the face of something (as a statute) [ discrimination] [a challenge to the law] fa·cial·ly adv
-tat·ed -tat·ing : to make easier : help bring about [a vehicle used to commission of the offense] fa·cil·i·ta·tion [fə-si-lə-tā-shən] n
[Latin factum deed, real happening, something done, from neuter of factus, past participle of facere to do, make] 1 : something that has actual existence : a matter of objective reality 2 : any of ...
Fact Pleading
see pleading
Fact Witness
a person with knowledge about what happened in a particular case who testifies in the case about what happened or what the facts are.
: one that tries to determine the facts of a case, situation, or relationship: as a : an impartial examiner designated by a government agency to appraise the facts underlying a particular matter (as ...
: the act or process of determining the facts and often the issues involved in a case, situation, or relationship ;specif : a method of labor dispute resolution in which an impartial factfinder ...
[Medieval Latin, doer, maker, agent, from Latin, maker, from facere to do, make] 1 : one who acts or transacts business for another: as a : a commercial agent who buys or sells goods for others on ...
Factor's Lien
see lien
: the purchasing of accounts receivable from a business by a factor who assumes the risk of loss in return for some agreed discount
1 : of or relating to facts [ issues] 2 : restricted to or based on fact fac·tu·al·i·ty [fak-chə-wa-lə-tē] n fac·tu·al·ly adv ...
Factual Impossibility
see impossibility
[New Latin, from Latin, act, deed see fact ] 1 : a person's act and deed ;specif : the due execution of a will 2 : fact
Facultative Reinsurance
[alluding to the faculty (i.e., power or prerogative) of the reinsurer to accept or reject the agreement] : a separate reinsurance agreement drawn up for a single risk compare treaty reinsurance
1 : to be or become inadequate or unsuccessful esp. in fulfilling certain formal requirements [even though one or more terms are left open a contract for sale does not for indefiniteness "Uniform ...
1 : omission of occurrence or performance ;specif : a failing to perform a duty or expected action [a to mitigate damages] [ to prosecute] 2 : a lack of success or adequacy [ of a suit] 3 : a ...
Failure Of Consideration
:the neglect, refusal, or failure of a party to a contract to perform as promised or furnish the consideration promised ;also : the extinguishment of the consideration or of the worth of the ...
Failure Of Issue
:lack of living issue (as of a person named to take under a will) at death definite failure of issue : a failure of issue determined at a specific time set in a will (as at the death of a named ...
1 : characterized by honesty and justice : free from self-interest, deception, injustice, or favoritism [a and impartial tribunal] 2 : reasonable as a basis for exchange [a wage] [a valuation] 3 : ...
Fair Comment
: a common-law privilege to criticize and comment on matters of public interest without being liable for defamation provided that the comment is an honest expression of opinion and free of malice
Fair Consideration
see consideration
Fair Credit Reporting Act
federal act to ensure that credit bureaus are fair and accurate protecting the individual's privacy rights enacted in 1971 and revised in October 1997.
Fair Dealing
: the transacting of business in a manner characterized by candor and full disclosure and free of self-dealing ;specif : such transacting undertaken by a corporate officer on his or her own behalf
Fair Hearing
see hearing
Fair Housing
Federal and state "fair housing" laws entitle home buyers, renters, and mortgage borrowers with protections against discrimination based on disability, gender, marital status, race, and sexual ...
Fair Housing Act
a law that prohibits discrimination in all facets of the home buying process on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.
Fair Labor Standards Act
A federal act that set a minimum standard wage and a maximum work week of 40 hours in industries engaged in interstate commerce. This Act also regulates the hours and type of work that can be ...
Fair Market Value
: a price at which buyers and sellers both having reasonable knowledge of the property and being under no compulsion are willing to do business
Fair Play And Substantial Justice
: a requirement or standard of fairness which a court's assertion of personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant must meet in order to avoid a violation of the defendant's right to due process ...
Fair Representation
: a union's representation in good faith of all employees within the bargaining unit without unfairly discriminating against any
Fair Trial
: a trial that is conducted fairly, justly, and with procedural regularity by an impartial judge and in which the defendant is afforded his or her rights under the U.S. Constitution or the ...
Fair Use
see use
Fair Value
1 : a reasonable value (as one set by courts and regulatory commissions) for property 2 : fair market value
Fair Warning
: sufficient notification in a statute that particular conduct constitutes a crime see also void-for-vagueness doctrine
: to market (a commodity) in compliance with the provisions of a fair-trade agreement fair trade n fair trader n
Fair-Trade Agreement
: an agreement between a producer and a seller that commodities bearing a trademark, label, or trade name belonging to the producer be sold at or above a specified price NOTE: Most fair-trade ...
Fairness Doctrine
: a doctrine requiring broadcasters to provide an opportunity for response to personal attacks aired by the broadcaster and esp. for the airing of conflicting viewpoints on controversial issues
1 a : allegiance or loyalty to a duty or a person b : sincerity or honesty of intentions see also bad faith, good faith 2 : fidelity to one's promises and obligations
Falcidian Portion
[from Falcidius, Roman tribune who proposed the law passed in 40 B.C. that established the portion] : the one-fourth portion of a succession that may be retained by the instituted heir in civil law ...
1 : not genuine, authentic, or legitimate compare counterfeit 2 a : not true or correct ;esp : intentionally or knowingly untrue or incorrect [injured by accusations] b : intended to mislead or ...
False Advertising
: the crime or tort of publishing, broadcasting, or otherwise publicly distributing an advertisement that contains an untrue, misleading, or deceptive representation or statement which was made ...
False Arrest
see arrest
False Imprisonment
: the tort of intentionally restraining another by physical force or the threat of physical force without privilege or authority see also false arrest at arrest
False Light
: an untrue or misleading portrayal [unreasonably placed their family in a false light before the public "Cantrell v. Forest City Publishing Co., 419 U.S. 245 (1974)"] ;also : an invasion of privacy ...
False Pretenses
: false representations concerning past or present facts that are made with the intent to defraud another ;also : the crime of obtaining title to another's property by false pretenses compare ...
False Promise
see promise
False Representation
: an untrue or incorrect representation regarding a material fact that is made with knowledge or belief of its inaccuracy see also misrepresentation
False Statement
: a statement that is known or believed by its maker to be incorrect or untrue and is made esp. with intent to deceive or mislead [submitted a false statement to obtain the loan] ;also : the federal ...
False Swearing
: the making of false statements under oath or affirmation in a setting other than a judicial proceeding ;also : the crime of false swearing compare perjury
: an act or instance of falsifying
-fied -fy·ing : to make false: as a : to make (as a document) false by mutilation, alteration, or addition [the motel clerk had falsified the records "M. A. Kelly"] b : to report (as ...
pl: -ties 1 : something false 2 : the quality or state of being false [did not establish the of the statement]
Familial Status
HUD uses this term to describe a single person, a pregnant woman or a household with children under 18 living with parents or legal custodians who might experience housing discrimination.
pl: -lies 1 : a group of individuals related by blood, marriage, or adoption 2 : a group of usually related individuals who live together under common household authority and esp. who have ...
Family Car Doctrine
: family purpose doctrine
Family Court
: a court that has jurisdiction and often advisory powers over domestic disputes involving the rights and duties of husband, wife, parent, or child esp. in matters affecting the support, custody, and ...
Family Division
: a division of the High Court of Justice having jurisdiction over matters of family law and uncontested probate matters
Family Farmer
: an individual or business entity whose debts and income arise primarily from a family owned and operated farming operation as set out in the Bankruptcy Code see also Bankruptcy Code in the ...
Family Farmer Or Family Fisherman
An individual, individual and spouse, corporation, or partnership engaged in a farming or fishing operation that meets certain debt limits and other statutory criteria for filing a bankruptcy petition ...
Family First Preference
A category of family immigration (F1) for unmarried sons and daughters of American citizens, and their children.
Family Fourth Preference
A category of family immigration (F4) for brothers and sisters of American citizens and their spouses and children. The American citizen must be 21 years of age or older before he/she can file the ...
Family Law
: an area of law dealing with family relations including divorce, adoption, paternity, custody, and support
Family Medical Leave Act (Fmla)
The federal law that requires certain employers to give time off to employees to take care of their own or a family member's illness, or to care for a newborn or adopted child
Family Meeting
in the civil law of Louisiana : a formal extrajudicial meeting of relatives or next friends of a minor or interdict held esp. to advise a court, curator, or tutor
Family Partnership
see partnership
Family Purpose Doctrine
: a doctrine in tort law: the owner of a car is vicariously liable for damages incurred by a family member while using the car with the owner's permission called also family car doctrine NOTE: This ...
Family Second Preference
A category of family immigration (F2) for spouses, children and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.
Family Third Preference
A category of family immigration (F3) for married sons and daughters of American citizens and their spouses and children. Before 1992 this was known as Fourth Preference (P-4).
Fanciful Marks
Comprise terms that have been invented for the sole purpose of functioning as a trademark or service mark. Such marks comprise words that are either unknown in the language (e.g., "Pepsi", "Kodak", ...
Fannie Mae
Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA); a federally-chartered enterprise owned by private stockholders that purchases residential mortgages and converts them into securities for sale to ...
free alongside (ship)
1 : causing failure of a legal claim or cause of action [a defect in the proceedings "W. R. LaFave and J. H. Israel"] 2 : making something (as a contract) invalid or unenforceable [there is a ...
Fatico Hearing
see hearing
[Anglo-French faute lack, failing, ultimately from Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint] 1 : a usually intentional act forbidden by law ;also : a usually intentional omission to do something (as to ...
1 : bias 2 : benefit in favor of : to the benefit of [a judgment in favor of the defendant] in one's favor : to one's benefit [a donation inter vivos made in his favor]
Federal Bureau of Investigation see also the Important Agencies section
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
Food and Drug Administration see also the Important Agencies section
formerly doing business as
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation see also the Important Agencies section
[from the notion of making oneself comfortable through the receipt of excessive or unjustified compensation for little or no work] : the unfair labor practice of causing an employer to pay for ...
: the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System see also Federal Reserve System in the Important Agencies section
Fed. R. App. P.
Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
Fed. R. Civ. P.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure see also the Important Laws section
Fed. R. Crim. P.
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure see also the Important Laws section
Fed. R. Evid.
Federal Rules of Evidence see also the Important Laws section
Fed. Reg.
Federal Register
[Latin foeder- foedus compact, league] 1 : of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial units (as states) ...
Federal Acquisitions Regulations
(FARs) Regulations established to codify uniform policies for acquisition of supplies and services by executive agencies. Published in CFR and updated in the Federal Register.
Federal Circuit
: a circuit that has nationwide jurisdiction over appeals or reviews of certain customs, trademark and patent cases (as actions for patent applications or patent interference), and claims against the ...
Federal Common Law
: case law developed in the federal courts see also Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins in the Important Cases section NOTE: Federal common law is applied primarily in admiralty and maritime cases, ...
Federal Court
: a court established by the federal government and having jurisdiction over questions of federal law see also Judicial System and article i and article iii of the Constitution in the back matter
Federal Courts
courts established under the U.S. Constitution. The term usually refers to courts of the federal judicial branch, which include the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. courts of appeals, the ...
Federal Labor Union
: a union that is chartered by the AFL-CIO
Federal Poverty Guidelines
See Poverty Guidelines. The Department of Health and Human Services publishes a list every year giving the lowest income acceptable for a family of a particular size so that the family does not live ...
Federal Preemption
: a doctrine in law that allows a federal law to take precedence over or to displace a state law in certain matters of national importance (as interstate commerce)
Federal Question
see question
Federal Register
A daily publication in which the U.S. administrative agencies publish their rules and regulations, including proposed rules and regulations for public comment.
Federal Rules Of Evidence
Rules which govern the admissibility of evidence at trials in the Federal District Courts and before U.S. Magistrates. Many states have adopted evidence rules patterned on these federal rules.
Federal Trade Commission (Ftc)
The agency of the federal government that seeks to promote free and fair competition in interstate commerce through prevention of trade restraints such as price-fixing agreements, false advertising, ...
often cap : distribution of power in a federation between the central authority and the constituent units (as states) involving esp. the allocation of significant lawmaking powers to those ...
[Middle English, fief, from Old French fé fief, ultimately from a Germanic word akin to Old High German fehu cattle] 1 : an inheritable freehold estate in real property ;esp : fee simple ...
Fee Patent
see fee
Fee Simple
pl: fees simple [simple without limitation (as to heirs) and unrestricted (as to transfer of ownership)] : a fee that is alienable (as by deed, will, or intestacy) and of potentially indefinite ...
Fee Simple Absolute
see fee simple
Fee Simple Conditional
see fee simple
Fee Simple Determinable
see fee simple
Fee Simple Subject To Condition Subsequent
:fee simple on condition subsequent at fee simple
Fee Tail
see fee
Fellow-Servant Rule
: a common-law rule or doctrine in tort law: an employer is not liable for injuries inflicted on one employee by the fault of another employee during the course of his or her employment NOTE: This ...
[Anglo-French felon fel, literally, evildoer, from Old French, probably of Germanic origin] : one who has committed a felony
: of, relating to, or constituting a felony [ sale of cocaine] fe·lo·ni·ous·ly adv
Felonious Assault
see assault
Felonious Homicide
see homicide
pl: -nies : a crime that has a greater punishment imposed by statute than that imposed on a misdemeanor ;specif : a federal crime for which the punishment may be death or imprisonment for more than ...
Felony Murder
see murder
1 : a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary 2 a : a receiver of stolen goods b : a place where stolen goods are bought
[Anglo-French feoffer, from fie fief fief] : enfeoff
: a person to whom a feoffment is made
: the historical method of granting a freehold estate in land by actual delivery of possession orig. by livery of seisin
: one who makes a feoffment
Ferae Naturae
[New Latin, literally, of a wild nature] : wild by nature : not usually tamed NOTE: Animals like wild ducks or bees are considered ferae naturae. At common law they cannot be claimed as one's ...
Feres Doctrine
[from Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950), the case which established the doctrine] : a doctrine in tort law: a member of the military is barred from recovering damages from the government ...
Fertile Octogenarian Rule
: a presumption at common law that a woman of any age is capable of having children for purposes of determining the applicability of the rule against perpetuities
: the act of causing the death of a fetus
Federal Housing Administration; established in 1934 to advance homeownership opportunities for all Americans; assists homebuyers by providing mortgage insurance to lenders to cover most losses that ...
Fi. Fa.
fieri facias
A person who plans or is contracted to marry another person. The foreign fiance(e) of an American citizen may enter the United States on a K-1 visa to marry the American citizen. Visit the U.S. ...
Fiance(E)S Of U.S. Citizen
A nonimmigrant alien coming to the United States to conclude a valid marriage with a U.S. citizen within ninety days after entry.
1 : decree 2 : an authoritative but arbitrary order [a brazen act of judicial "L. H. Tribe"]
Federal Insurance Contributions Act
Fico Score
FICO is an abbreviation for Fair Isaac Corporation and refers to a person's credit score based on credit history. Lenders and credit card companies use the number to decide if the person is likely to ...
: legal fiction fic·tion·al adj
1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a legal fiction 2 : false fic·ti·tious·ly adv fic·ti·tious·ness n
Fictitious Name
: a name (as John Doe) used in a complaint when the party's name is unknown at the time of filing or when the party's identity is being kept private
Fictitious Payee
: a person named as payee in an instrument who does not in fact exist or who does exist but to whom the maker of the instrument does not intend to convey any interest in the instrument
Fictitious Person
: a supposed but in fact nonexistent person referred to in some legal documents or proceedings ;also : fictitious payee
Fidei Commissa
pl of fidei commissum
Fidei Commissum
pl: fidei com·mis·sa [-sə, -sÄ ] [Latin fidei commissum, from neuter past participle of fideicommittere to bequeath (a thing) with the request that it be delivered to a third ...
: the quality or state of being faithful or loyal ;esp : loyalty to one's spouse in refraining from adultery and sometimes in submitting to a spouse's reasonable sexual desires
Fidelity Bond
see bond
Fidelity Insurance
: insurance against loss caused by the dishonesty or nonperformance of an employee of the insured
pl: -ries : one often in a position of authority who obligates himself or herself to act on behalf of another (as in managing money or property) and assumes a duty to act in good faith and with care, ...
Fiduciary Duty
see duty
Fiduciary Relationship
: a relationship in which one party places special trust, confidence, and reliance in and is influenced by another who has a fiduciary duty to act for the benefit of the party called also ...
Fiduciary Shield Doctrine
: a doctrine barring a state from exercising personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant as an individual if the acts for which the defendant is being sued were performed in his or her ...
Fieri Facias
[Medieval Latin, literally, may you cause it to be done, from words used in the writ, typically de terris et cattalis fieri facias may you raise from the lands and chattels (of the defendant) (a ...
first in, first out
Fifth Degree
: the grade sometimes given to the least serious form of a crime [theft in the fifth degree]
Fighting Words
: words which by their very utterance are likely to inflict harm on or provoke a breach of the peace by the average person to whom they are directed NOTE: Fighting words are not protected speech ...
filed fil·ing vt 1 a : to submit (a legal document) to the proper office (as the office of a clerk of court) for keeping on file among the records esp. as a procedural step in a legal ...
File Sharing
The term file sharing refers to the sharing of computer data or space on a network. File sharing allows multiple users to use the same file by being able to read, modify, copy and/or print it. File ...
File Wrapper
: a written record in a patent office of the application and negotiations for a patent preceding the issuance of the patent see also file wrapper estoppel at estoppel
File Wrapper Estoppel
see estoppel
-at·ed -at·ing : to declare (a child) the descendant of a particular parent and esp. a father [has not been filiated by the initiative of the parent "Louisiana Civil Code"] compare ...
[Late Latin filiatio relationship of a son and father, from Latin filius son] 1 : a legal relationship of a parent and esp. a father and child that creates rights and obligations [used to help prove ...
: the use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action esp. in a legislative assembly ;also : an instance of this practice
1 : an act or instance of filing something 2 : a document filed
Filing Fee
see fee
Filius Nullius
[Medieval Latin, literally, no one's son] : an illegitimate child : bastard called also filius populi
1 : ending a court action or proceeding leaving nothing further to be determined by the court or to be done except execution of the judgment but not precluding appeal used of an order, decision, ...
Final Account
: a statement usually submitted at the close of a matter (as the administration of an estate or a bankruptcy proceeding) showing transactions not previously reported by the fiduciary handling the ...
Final Argument
: an argument made to the jury or to the judge in a bench trial by both sides of a case after all the evidence has been presented
Final Decision
a court's decision that resolves the claims of the parties and leaves nothing further for the court to do but ensure that the decision is carried out.
Final Decree
see decree
Final Injunction
see injunction
Final Judgment
see judgment
Final Judgment Rule
: a rule of procedure: an appeal may be taken only after final determination of all issues involved in a case
Final Offer Arbitration
see arbitration
Final Order
see order
Final Rule
: a rule promulgated by an administrative agency after the public has had an opportunity to comment on the proposed rule
1 : the state or condition of being final 2 : the principle that appeals may only be taken from final orders or judgments
1 pl : money or other liquid resources of a government, business, group, or individual 2 : the system that includes the circulation of money, the granting of credit, the making of investments, and ...
Finance Company
see company
Finance Lease
see lease
: relating to finance or financiers fi·nan·cial·ly adv
Financial Reports
Reports that show the financial status of a company at a given time
Financial Responsibility Law
: a law that requires a driver involved in an accident to provide proof of the ability to pay a judgment obtained against him or her
Financial Statement
: a statement of one's status with regard to money or wealth compare financing statement
1 : one who specializes in raising and expending public moneys 2 : one who deals with finance and investment on a large scale
: the act or process or an instance of raising or providing funds ;also : the funds thus raised or provided
Financing Statement
: a statement that contains information about a security interest in collateral used to secure a debt and that is filed to provide notice to other creditors of the security interest see also perfect ...
found find·ing vt 1 : to come upon accidentally or through effort [found a valuable antique in the old desk] [found a buyer for the property] 2 : to make a judicial determination regarding ...
1 : one that finds [the of lost property has a right to it as against the world, except against the true owner "McDonald v. Railway Express Agency, 81 S.E.2d 525 (1954)"] 2 : one that for a fee ...
Finder Of Fact
:trier of fact
: a determination resulting from judicial or administrative examination or inquiry (as at trial) esp. into matters of fact as embodied in the verdict of a jury or decision of a court, referee, or ...
Finding Of Fact
see finding
Finding Of Law
see finding
[Anglo-French fin fine & Medieval Latin finis end, boundary, agreement, payment for release or privilege, monetary penalty, from Latin finis end, boundary] 1 : a sum imposed as punishment for an ...
Fine Print
: a part of an agreement or document spelling out restrictions or limitations often in small type or obscure language
fin·gered fin·ger·ing : to accuse or identify as guilty [was fingered simply because he fit the stereotype of a young, black street criminal "Jack Ewing"]
: the impression of a fingertip on any surface ;also : an ink impression of the lines upon the fingertip taken for the purpose of identification (as during the booking procedure following an arrest) ...
Fireman's Rule
: a doctrine holding that a property owner or occupant is not liable for unintentional injuries suffered by firefighters or police officers in responding to a problem on the property
[German Firma, from Italian, signature, ultimately from Latin firmare to make firm, confirm] 1 : the name or title under which a company transacts business 2 : a partnership of two or more persons ...
Firm Offer
: a binding written offer to buy or sell that cannot be revoked for a stipulated period of time or for a reasonable time that in no event exceeds three months
First Amendment
The constitutional amendment ratified with the Bill of Rights in 1791, guaranteeing the freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly and the right to petition the government for the redress of ...
First Blush
: initial view, appearance, or consideration used esp. in the phrase at first blush [an award can be set aside as excessive if at first blush it indicates prejudice on the part of the jury]
First Degree
: the grade given to the most serious forms of crimes [burglary in the first degree] first-degree adj
First Impression
: first consideration or judgment see also case of first impression at case
First In, First Out
: being or relating to a method of valuing inventories by which items in the lot first received are assumed to be issued or sold first and requisitions are priced at the cost per item of the oldest ...
First Lien
see lien
First Mortgage
see mortgage
First Offender
: one convicted of an offense for the first time
First Preference
A category of family immigration (F1) for unmarried sons and daughters of American citizens and their children.
First-Degree Murder
see murder
First-Party Coverage
Compensation you receive under your own insurance policy as opposed to receiving payment from someone else's insurance policy, such as the person who caused an accident. Examples of first-party ...
[Latin fiscalis, from fiscus basket, treasury] 1 : of or relating to taxation, public revenues, or public debt [ policy] 2 : of or relating to financial matters fis·cal·ly adv
Fiscal Year
: an accounting period of 12 months
Fishing Expedition
1 : an inquiry (as by the use of discovery) that is unnecessarily extensive or unrelated to the lawsuit 2 : an investigation that does not stick to a stated objective but hopes to uncover ...
1 a : to make firm, stable, or stationary b : to attach physically 2 : to influence the actions, outcome, or effect of by improper or illegal methods [conspiracy to defraud the government by ing ...
Fixed Amount Option
: installments-for-a-fixed-amount option at option
Fixed Asset
see asset
Fixed Capital
see capital
Fixed Charge
: a regularly recurring expense (as rent, taxes, or interest) that must be met when due
Fixed Costs
Business costs that do not vary with sales volume
Fixed Expenses
payments that do not vary from month to month.
Fixed Liability
see liability
Fixed Period Option
: installments-for-a-fixed-period option at option
Fixed Rate
: a rate (as of interest) that stays the same [a mortgage with a fixed rate]
Fixed-Income Security
see security
Fixed-Rate Mortgage
a mortgage with payments that remain the same throughout the life of the loan because the interest rate and other terms are fixed and do not change.
: an item of movable property so incorporated into a real property that it may be regarded as legally a part of it
Flagrante Delicto
[Medieval Latin, literally, while the crime is blazing] : in the very act of committing a misdeed [was caught flagrante delicto] ;also : in the midst of sexual activity
: not varying [a rate] ;specif of a tax : having a rate that remains constant for any taxable base
Flat Rule
: per se rule
1 : an amount of money represented by checks outstanding and in process of collection 2 : the time between a transaction (as the writing of a check or a purchase on credit) and the actual withdrawal ...
1 from the notion that the policy “floats” with the goods it insures, wherever they might be located : a policy or supplemental attachment to a policy insuring specific items of personal ...
1 : not presently committed or invested [ capital] 2 : short-term and usually not funded [ debt] 3 : having no fixed value or rate [ currencies] [ interest rates]
Floating Lien
see lien
Floating Policy
: floater
Floating Zone
: a zone that is to be used for a designated purpose and that is approved as to particular characteristics (as size and type of buildings) but whose location is to be determined in the future
Flood Insurance
insurance that protects homeowners against losses from a flood; if a home is located in a flood plain, the lender will require flood insurance before approving a loan.
: something serving to restrain an outburst (as of litigation) usually used in pl. [a decision that will open the floodgates for other claims]
1 a : a main level space (as in a stock exchange or legislative chamber) distinguished from a platform or gallery b : members of an assembly [took questions from the ] c : the right to address an ...
Floor Planning
: a method of financing a retail sales business in which the retailer gives a security interest in all of the inventory to the lender or seller
: flotsam
: floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo compare jetsam
Flower Bond
see bond
Federal Labor Relations Authority see also the Important Agencies section
Flying Squad
: a usually small standby group of people ready to move or act quickly ;esp : a police unit formed to respond quickly in an emergency called also flying squadron
Short for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which applies to employers who have more than fifty employees on their payroll. The FMLA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who ...
Freedom of Information Act see also the Important Laws section
: a certain number of words taken as a unit or division in a document for purposes of measurement or reference NOTE: A folio by statutory provision generally consists of 100 words.
: to be in accordance with (a prior decision) : accept as authoritative see also precedent compare overrule
Following To Join
A type of derivative visa status when the family member gets a visa after the principal applicant.
1 : because of [a statute void vagueness] 2 : on behalf of : as the representative of [attorney general's office petitioner]
also fore·bear·ance [fȯr-bar-əns] n : a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due
1 : a cause of motion, activity, or change intervening force : a force that acts after another's negligent act or omission has occurred and that causes injury to another : intervening cause at ...
Force And Effect
: legal efficacy [have the force and effect of a formal acceptance "Louisiana Civil Code"]
Force Majeure
[French, superior force] 1 : superior or insuperable force 2 : an event (as war, labor strike, or extreme weather) or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled : fortuitous event ...
Force Majeure Clause
: a clause in an agreement that excuses performance in the event that a force majeure makes the performance impracticable or impossible
Forced Heir
see heir
Forced Portion
: legitime
Forced Sale
see sale
Forced Share
: elective share
: effected by force or threat of force used against opposition or resistance [a felony] for·ci·bly adv
Forcible Entry
1 : the unlawful taking of possession of real property by force or threats of force against the lawful possessor see also forcible entry and detainer 2 : unlawful entry into or onto another's ...
Forcible Entry And Detainer
1 : the forcible entry upon and keeping of real property without authority of law 2 : the statutory proceeding to regain possession of real property taken through a forcible entry and detainer
var of forbearance
The calculation of reasonable probabilities about a business' financial future
[Anglo-French forclos, past participle of foreclore to preclude, prevent, from fors outside + clore to close] vt : to subject to foreclosure proceedings vi : to foreclose a mortgage or other ...
1 : a legal proceeding that bars or extinguishes a mortgagor's equity of redemption in mortgaged real property see also deficiency judgment at judgment, redeem, right of redemption, statutory ...
Foreclosure Sale
see sale
: not being within the jurisdiction of a political unit (as a state) ;esp : being from or in a state other than the one in which a matter is being considered [a company doing business in South ...
Foreign Administrator
see administrator
Foreign Affairs Manual (9 Fam)
Foreign Affairs Manual 9, Chapter 41 relates to nonimmigrant visas. Chapter 42 covers immigrant visas. Chapter 40 relates to visa ineligibilities and waivers. Go to the U.S. Department of State site ...
Foreign Corporation
see corporation
Foreign Government Official
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States who has been accredited by a foreign government to function as an ambassador, public minister, career diplomatic ...
Foreign Information Media Representative
As a nonimmigrant class of admission, an alien coming temporarily to the United States as a bona fide representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other foreign information media and the alien's ...
pl: fore·men : a male or female member of a jury who acts as the leader and speaks for the jury
[Latin forensis public, forensic, from forum forum] 1 : belonging to, used in, or suitable to the courts or to public discussion and debate 2 : relating to or dealing with the application of ...
: foreman
fore·saw fore·seen fore·see·ing : to be aware of the reasonable possibility of (as an occurrence or development) beforehand
1 : the quality or state of being foreseeable [reasonable of probable consequences "Gerwin v. Southeastern Cal. Ass'n of Seventh Day Adventists, 14 Cal. App. 3d 209 (1971)"] 2 : the doctrine esp. of ...
: such as reasonably can or should be anticipated : such that a person of ordinary prudence would expect to occur or exist under the circumstances [a risk] [the expenses] [a plaintiff] ...
[Anglo-French, from Middle French forfait, past participle of forfaire to commit a crime, from fors outside + faire to do] : something forfeited or subject to being forfeited
1 : the loss of a right, money, or esp. property because of one's criminal act, default, or failure or neglect to perform a duty compare waiver 2 : something (as money or property) that is forfeited ...
forged forg·ing vt : to make, alter, or imitate (as a writing) falsely with intent to defraud : counterfeit vi : to commit forgery forg·er n
pl: -er·ies 1 : the act of falsely making, altering, or imitating (as a document or signature) with intent to defraud ;also : the crime of committing such an act 2 : something that is forged
1 : the structure of something (as a document) as distinguished from its matter [a defect in , not substance] 2 : established procedure according to rule or practice see also form of action 3 : a ...
Form 10-K
: a financial disclosure form required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to be filed annually by companies issuing securities or having a threshold amount of gross assets
Form Of Action
:any of the personal actions (as assumpsit, detinue, or replevin) formerly brought at common law see also writ NOTE: Rule 2 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states “there shall be one ...
1 : relating to or involving outward form, structure, or arrangement rather than content [a defect in the pleadings] 2 : requiring special or established solemnities or formalities esp. in order to ...
Formal Contract
see contract
Formal Rulemaking
: rulemaking by a government agency that is on the record after an opportunity for an agency hearing in accordance with the formal procedures set forth in sections 556 and 557 of the Administrative ...
Former Adjudication
: a procedural doctrine that bars relitigation by the same parties of the same issues or claims upon which a judgment has already been rendered NOTE: Estoppel by judgment and res judicata are the two ...
Former Jeopardy
1 : a common-law plea in bar of autrefois acquit or autrefois convict 2 : double jeopardy
Former Testimony
see testimony
[Late Latin fornicatio, from fornicare to have intercourse with prostitutes, from Latin fornic- fornix arch, vault, brothel] : consensual sexual intercourse between a man and esp. single woman who ...
-swore [-swōr] -sworn [-swōrn] -swear·ing vt 1 : to reject, renounce, or deny under oath 2 : to renounce earnestly vi : to swear falsely : commit false swearing
Fortuitous Event
: an event of natural or human origin that could not have been reasonably foreseen or expected and is out of the control of the persons concerned (as parties to a contract) : force majeure called ...
1 : public forum 2 a : a judicial body or assembly : court [allowed the defendant in a state court action to choose the federal by removing the case "M. H. Redish"] b : the territorial ...
Forum Non Conveniens
[New Latin, literally, unsuitable tribunal] : a doctrine allowing a court with jurisdiction over a case to dismiss it because the convenience of the parties and the interest of justice would be ...
Forum Selection Clause
: a clause in an agreement in which the parties stipulate the forum in which any disputes arising between them will be resolved
Forum Shop
: to engage in forum shopping
Forum Shopping
: the practice of choosing the court in which to bring an action from among those courts that could properly exercise jurisdiction based on a determination of which court is likely to provide the ...
: forward contract at contract
Forward Contract
see contract
: affording, receiving, or sharing nurture or parental care though not related by blood or legal relationships [a child] [a parent]
Foster Child
A child other than a natural or adopted child who lived with the taxpayer for the entire year and whom the taxpayer treated as his or her own child.
Foster Home
: a household in which care is provided to a child who has been orphaned or removed from the home of his or her natural parents (as for reasons of abuse, neglect, or delinquency)
past and past part of find
1 : a basis upon which something stands or is supported ;specif : a witness's preliminary testimony given to identify or explain evidence being offered at trial and establish its connection to the ...
: one that founds or establishes: as a : one that establishes a foundation b : founding father
Founding Father
often cap both Fs : a leading figure in the founding of the U.S. ;specif : a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787
Four Corners
: the contents of a document as interpreted without reference to or consideration of outside information : the face of a document [any evidence offered…must appear within the four corners of ...
Four Corners Rule
: a rule holding that if a document (as a contract, deed, or will) appears on its face to be complete no outside evidence may be used to challenge it NOTE: The number of states that accept the four ...
Four-Month Rule
: a rule requiring that an action be taken within four months: as a : a rule in some states requiring that a defendant be tried within four months of the arrest, charge, or arraignment b : a rule ...
Fourth Amendment
The constitutional amendment guaranteeing people the right to be secure in their homes and property against unreasonable searches and seizures, and providing that no warrants shall issue except upon ...
Fourth Degree
: a grade given to less serious forms of crimes [manslaughter in the fourth degree]
Fourth Preference
A category of family immigration (F4) for brothers and sisters of American citizens and their spouses and children. The American citizen must be 21 years of age or older before he/she can file a ...
framed fram·ing 1 : to formulate the contents of and draw up (as a document) [in the two hundred years since our Constitution was framed "W. J. Brennan, Jr."] 2 : to contrive the evidence ...
: an act or series of acts in which someone is framed
: a drafter of legislation ;specif cap : one of the drafters of the U.S. Constitution and esp. of the articles and the Bill of Rights
[Anglo-French, literally, freedom, liberty, from Middle French, from franchir to free, from Old French franc free] 1 : a special right or privilege granted by the government to an individual, group, ...
Franchise Tax
: a business tax imposed upon various corporations granted a franchise
: one granted a franchise
var of franchisor
also fran·chis·er [fran-chī-zər] n : one granting a franchise ;also : franchisee
Franks Hearing
see hearing
[Middle French, from Latin fratricida, from fratr- frater brother + -cida killing] 1 : one that murders or kills his or her own brother or sister or an individual (as a countryman) having a ...
[Latin fraud- fraus] 1 a : any act, expression, omission, or concealment calculated to deceive another to his or her disadvantage ;specif : a misrepresentation or concealment with reference to some ...
Fraud In Fact
see fraud
Fraud In Law
see fraud
Fraud In The Execution
:fraud in the factum at fraud
Fraud On The Court
see fraud
Fraud On The Market Theory
: a theory of liability in securities fraud cases: a defendant's material misrepresentation regarding a security traded in the open market that affects the price of the security is presumed to have ...
[French, fraud] in the civil law of Louisiana : fraud committed in the performance of a contract compare dol
: characterized by, based on, or done by fraud compare deceptive, false, misleading fraud·u·lent·ly adv
Fraudulent Concealment
: the intentional failure to disclose a material fact and esp. the existence of a cause of action by one under a duty to make such a disclosure to another who acts or fails to act in reliance and ...
Fraudulent Conversion
: conversion committed with the intent of defrauding someone
Fraudulent Conveyance
: a conveyance of property made for the purpose of rendering the property unavailable for satisfaction of a debt or otherwise hindering or defeating the rights of creditors ;specif : a conveyance of ...
Fraudulent Transfer
A transfer of a debtor's property made with intent to defraud or for which the debtor receives less than the transferred property's value.
Freddie Mac
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLM); a federally chartered corporation that purchases residential mortgages, securitizes them, and sells them to investors; this provides lenders with funds ...
1 a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen [representatives…shall be determined by adding to the whole number of persons "U.S. Constitution art. I"] b : enjoying civil and ...
Free Alongside Ship
: with delivery at the side of the ship free of charges and the buyer's liability then beginning
Free Exercise Clause
often cap F&E&C : the clause in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting Congress from making any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion see also freedom of religion ...
Free Expression
: free speech
Free On Board
: without charge for delivery to and placing on board a carrier at a specified point
Free Speech
1 : speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution [setting off an alarm bell is not free speech "A. M. Dershowitz"] 2 : freedom of speech [an unconstitutional restraint ...
1 : the quality or state of being free: as a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another c : the ...
Freedom Of Association
:the right guaranteed esp. by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to join with others either in personal relationships or as part of a group usu. having a common viewpoint or purpose and ...
Freedom Of Contract
:a power or right to contract and freely determine the provisions of contracts without arbitrary or unreasonable legal restrictions esp. as guaranteed under the contract clause of Article I, Section ...
Freedom Of Expression
:freedom of speech
Freedom Of Press
The right to publish and distribute one's thoughts and views without governmental restriction as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Freedom Of Religion
:the right esp. as guaranteed under the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to practice one's religion or exercise one's beliefs without intervention by the ...
Freedom Of Speech
:the right to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content and subject only to reasonable limitations (as the power of the government to avoid a clear and ...
Freedom Of The Press
:the right to publish and disseminate information, thoughts, and opinions without restraint or censorship as guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution NOTE: The First Amendment's ...
Freedom Of The Seas
:the right of a merchant ship to travel any waters except territorial waters either in peace or war
Freedom To Contract
:freedom of contract
[translation of Anglo-French frank tenement freehold estate] : a tenure of real property the duration of which cannot be determined and by which an estate in fee simple or fee tail or for life is ...
: the owner of a freehold estate
froze fro·zen freez·ing 1 : to cause to become fixed, immovable, unavailable, or unalterable [ interest rates] 2 : to immobilize (as by government regulation or the action of a financial ...
Freeze Out
: to subject to a freezeout
: one subject to a freezeout
: a corporate action (as a merger) taken by those in control of the corporation (as controlling shareholders or the board of directors) for the purpose of causing the minority shareholders to lose ...
1 a : free of the detrimental effects of delay (as the fading of memories) b : characterized by promptness 2 : experienced, made, or received newly or anew [a resumed interrogation requiring ...
Fresh Complaint
: a report of a sexual offense by the victim to someone in a position of trust (as a police officer, parent, or friend) made with reasonable promptness
Fresh Complaint Rule
: a rule of evidence: the testimony of a witness to whom a victim of a sexual offense made a fresh complaint is admissible to corroborate the victim's testimony called also fresh complaint doctrine
Fresh Pursuit
1 : the immediate and continuous pursuit by police officers of a suspect who is fleeing to avoid arrest that under common law and some state codes gives the officers the right to cross jurisdictional ...
Fresh Start
The characterization of a debtor's status after bankruptcy, i.e., free of most debts. (Giving debtors a fresh start is one purpose of the Bankruptcy Code.)
Friend Of The Court
:amicus curiae
: agreeable to those affected : not hostile [a takeover]
Fringe Benefit
: an employment benefit (as a pension, a paid holiday, or health insurance) granted by an employer that has a monetary value but that does not affect basic wage rates
: to run the hand rapidly over the outer clothing of (a suspect) for the purpose of finding concealed weapons compare search NOTE: The purpose of frisking a suspect is to insure the safety of an ...
: lacking in any arguable basis or merit in either law or fact NOTE: In an attempt to discourage frivolous lawsuits, Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires the signature of an ...
: something or someone (as a person or group) used to mask the identity or true character or activity of the actual person or organization in control front vb
Front End Ratio
a percentage comparing a borrower's total monthly cost to buy a house (mortgage principal and interest, insurance, and real estate taxes) to monthly income before deductions.
Front Pay
A type of damages award in an employment lawsuit that represents the amount of money the employee would have earned if the employee was reinstated or hired into the higher-paying position from which ...
Back-end and front-end are expressions that describe programs relative to the user. A front-end program is one that users interact with directly, while a back-end program supports the front-end ...
1 : a piece of land that lies adjacent (as to a street or the ocean) 2 : the land between the front of a building and the street 3 : the length of a frontage
past of freeze
past part of freeze
1 a : something (as evidence) that is obtained or gathered during an action or operation (as a search) [moved to suppress evidence seized from the room on the grounds that it was obtained as the of ...
Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree
1 : a doctrine of evidence: evidence that is derived from or gathered during an illegal action (as an unlawful search) cannot be admitted into court 2 : evidence that is inadmissible under an ...
frus·trat·ed frus·trat·ing : to make invalid or ineffectual : defeat [the remedial purposes of the Workers' Compensation Act should not be frustrated by rigid technical ...
1 a : the act of frustrating b : the state or an instance of being frustrated c : something that frustrates 2 : a common-law doctrine of contract law: parties to a contract may be excused from ...
Frye Test
[from United States v. Frye, 293 F. 1013 (1923), the case that established the rule] : a common-law rule of evidence: the results of scientific tests or procedures are admissible as evidence only ...
Fsbo (For Sale By Owner)
a home that is offered for sale by the owner without the benefit of a real estate professional.
Federal Trade Commission see also the Important Agencies section
Federal Tort Claims Act see also the Important Laws section
: a person who flees ;esp : a person who flees one jurisdiction (as a state) for another in order to elude law enforcement personnel
Fugitive From Justice Warrant
: fugitive warrant at warrant
Fugitive Warrant
see warrant
Full Age
: age of majority
Full And Final Adoption
A legal adoption in which the child receives all the rights of a natural born, legitimate child.
Full Bench
: full court
Full Court
: a court with all or the required number of the judges present called also full bench compare en banc, panel
Full Faith And Credit
: the recognition and enforcement of the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of one state by another see also Article IV of the Constitution in the back matter compare choice of law, ...
Full Faith And Credit Clause
often cap both Fs & both Cs : the clause in Article IV of the U.S. Constitution that requires states to give full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of the ...
Full Interdiction
: interdiction
Full Reporting Clause
: a clause in an insurance policy which provides that the indemnity will not exceed that proportion of loss which the last reported value of the property bears to the actual value
Fully Funded
: having financial resources adequate to meet current retirement plan payments even in the event of bankruptcy
Functional Obsolescence
see obsolescence
Functus Officio
[Latin, having performed his duty, having served its purpose] : of no further official authority or legal effect [the warrant… had been returned and was functus officio "Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 ...
1 : a sum of money or other resources whose principal or interest is set aside for a specific objective cli·ent security fund : a fund established by each state to compensate clients for ...
Fundamental Error
see error
Fundamental Fairness
1 : the balance or impartiality (of a court proceeding) that is essential to due process 2 : a subjective standard by which a court proceeding is deemed to have followed due process
Fundamental Right
: a right that is considered by a court (as the U.S. Supreme Court) to be explicitly or implicitly expressed in a constitution (as the U.S. Constitution) NOTE: A court must review a law that ...
[New Latin fungibilis, from Latin fungi to perform] : being something (as money or a commodity) one part or quantity of which can be substituted for another of equal value in paying a debt or ...
Fungible Goods
see good
: a contract traded on an exchange in which a party agrees to buy or sell a quantity of a bulk commodity (as soybeans) at a specified future date and at a set price usually used in pl. NOTE: If the ...
Future Contract
: futures contract at contract
Future Goods
see good
Future Interest
see interest
Futures Contract
see contract
Futures Option
see option
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