Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

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.


1 : a solemn attestation of the truth of one's words or the sincerity of one's intentions ;specif : one accompanied by calling upon a deity as a witness 2 : a promise (as to perform official duties ...
Obiter Dictum
pl: obiter dic·ta [-tə] [Late Latin, literally, something said in passing] : an incidental and collateral remark that is uttered or written by a judge but is not binding : dictum
1 : something toward which thought, feeling, or action is directed see also natural object 2 : the purpose or goal of something ;esp in the civil law of Louisiana : the purpose for which a contract ...
1 : an act or instance of objecting ;specif : a statement of opposition to an aspect of a judicial or other legal proceeding [file an to a proposed bankruptcy plan] 2 : a reason or argument forming ...
Objection To Dischargeability
A trustee's or creditor's objection to the debtor being released from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. Common reasons include allegations that the debt to be discharged was incurred ...
Objection To Exemptions
A trustee's or creditor's objection to the debtor's attempt to claim certain property as exempt from liquidation by the trustee to creditors.
-gat·ed -gat·ing 1 : to bind legally or morally [was obligated to pay child support] 2 : to commit (as funds or property) to meet or provide security for an obligation ...
1 : a promise, acknowledgment, or agreement (as a contract) that binds one to a specific performance (as payment) ;also : the binding power of such an agreement or indication [held that the ...
: one (as a creditor) to whom another is legally obligated [an protected by a surety bond] compare debtor, obligor
: one who is bound by an obligation to another [an obligation extinguished by performance of the ] compare creditor, debtor, obligee, promisor, surety
[Middle French, from Latin obscenus obscaenus indecent, lewd] : extremely or deeply offensive according to contemporary community standards of morality or decency see also Roth v. United States in ...
pl: -ties 1 : the quality or state of being obscene 2 : something (as an utterance or act) that is obscene ;also : obscene material
: a loss in the utility or value of property that results over time from intrinsic limitations (as outmoded facilities) or external circumstances NOTE: Obsolescence is usually distinguished from ...
: easily seen, discovered, or understood ;specif : readily apparent to a person of ordinary skill in a particular art considering the scope and content of the prior art see also patent NOTE: An ...
pl: -cies 1 : the fact or condition of holding, possessing, or residing in or on something [ of the premises] 2 : the act or fact of taking or having possession (as of abandoned property) to acquire ...
1 : one who occupies a particular place [an of the car] [the of the apartment] 2 : one who acquires title by occupancy
For an alien entering the United States or adjusting without a labor certification, occupation refers to the employment held in the country of last legal residence or in the United States. For an ...
Occupation Tax
: an excise imposed on persons for the privilege of carrying on a trade, business, or occupation
Occupational Disease
: an ailment that results from the characteristic conditions or functions of one's employment rather than from the ordinary risks to which the general public is exposed and that renders one eligible ...
: something that takes place ;esp : an accident, event, or continuing condition that causes personal or property damage that is unintended or unexpected from the standpoint of an insured party ...
Occurrence Policy
: an insurance policy that provides coverage for an event occurring within the policy period even if the discovery or claim is made later compare claims made policy
Ocean Marine Insurance
: insurance against risks incident to transportation by sea compare inland marine insurance, marine insurance
Odd Lot
: a quantity of stock that is less than the usual rounded amount (as 100 shares) compare round lot
Odd-Lot Doctrine
: a doctrine in workers' compensation law: a disabled worker who is not totally incapacitated for all work may nonetheless be considered totally disabled if there is no reasonably dependable market ...
var of offense
: one that commits an offense [a repeat ]
or of·fence [ə-fens] n 1 : a violation of the law ;esp : a criminal act [nor shall any person be subject for the same to be twice put in jeopardy "U.S. Constitution amend. V"] see also ...
1 : of, relating to, or designed for attack [ weapons] 2 : causing displeasure or resentment ;esp : contrary to a particular or prevailing sense of what is decent, proper, or moral [depicted sexual ...
1 : a proposal, promise, or other manifestation of willingness to make and fulfill a contract or to bargain under proposed terms with another party that has the power to accept it upon receiving it ...
: one to whom an offer is made [a unilateral contract consists of a promise on the part of the offeror and performance of the requisite terms by the "Kloss v. Honeywell, Inc., 890 P.2d 480 (1995)"]
: an issuance of securities for sale [raise capital through a public of stock]
: one that makes an offer to another [acceptance of the offer terminates the power of revocation that the ordinarily has "J. D. Calamari and J. M. Perillo"]
1 : a special duty, charge, or position conferred by governmental authority and for a public purpose [qualified to hold public ] ;broadly : a special duty or position of authority [hold an of trust] ...
Office Action
A letter from a trademark examining attorney from the USPTO, setting forth the legal status of a trademark application. There are several types of Office actions: examiner's amendments, priority ...
1 : one charged with administering or enforcing the law [a police ] 2 : one who holds an office of trust, authority, or command [the directors, s, employees, and shareholders of a corporation] 3 : ...
: one who holds or is invested with an office esp. in government [a municipal ]
Official Immunity
see immunity
: one (as a priest) who officiates at a religious rite
Officious Intermeddler
: one who unnecessarily meddles in the affairs of another and then seeks restitution or compensation for the beneficial results but who is barred from receiving it
: a claim or amount that reduces or balances another claim or amount : set-off [the creditor's own debt was an ] ;also : the reduction or balance achieved by such a claim
pl: -lies : a condition in which a few sellers dominate a particular market to the detriment of competition by others
: holograph olo·graph·ic [ō-lə-gra-fik, Ä -] adj
1 : something neglected, left out, or left undone 2 : the act, fact, or state of leaving something out or failing to do something esp. that is required by duty, procedure, or law [liable for a ...
Omnibus Bill
see bill
Omnibus Clause
1 : a clause in a will, decree, or security agreement that stipulates the disposition or status of property not specifically named 2 : a clause in a vehicle insurance policy that provides coverage ...
Omnibus Motion
see motion
1 : excessively burdensome or costly 2 : involving a return benefit, compensation, or consideration [an donation] used chiefly in the civil law of Louisiana see also onerous contract at contract ...
Onerous Contract
see contract
Onerous Title
see title
Acronym for Online Public Access Catalog. OPAC is an online catalog of a library collection that is available to the public. Today most libraries make their OPAC publicly accessible via the Web.
1 : exposed to general view or knowledge : free from concealment [an , notorious, continuous, and adverse use of the property] [an and obvious danger] NOTE: When a defect, hazard, or condition is ...
Open Court
1 : a recorded judicial proceeding that is presided over by a judge and attended by the parties and their attorneys and that is convened for the purpose of conducting official business compare in ...
Open Fields Doctrine
: a doctrine in criminal procedure: law enforcement officers may make a warrantless search of the area outside of the curtilage of a person's home without violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. ...
Open Forum
: a government property that is opened to the public for expressive activities of any kind compare limited public forum
Open Listing
see listing
Open Market
: a freely competitive market in which any buyer or seller may trade and in which prices are determined by competition
Open Mortgage Clause
: a mortgage clause which provides that payments go first to the mortgagee to the extent of its interest and which makes the mortgagee's right to receive payment dependent on the mortgagor's right to ...
Open Order
see order
Open Perils
: of, relating to, or being an insurance contract that covers all perils unless specifically excluded
Open Shop
: an establishment in which eligibility for employment and retention on the payroll are not determined by membership or nonmembership in a labor union though there may be an agreement by which a ...
: organized to allow for contingencies: as a : permitting additional debt to be incurred under the original debt instrument subject to specified conditions see also open-end mortgage at mortgage b ...
Open-End Mortgage
see mortgage
Open source refers to any program whose source code is made publicly and freely available for use and/or modification.
Opening Argument
Outline or summary of the nature of a case and of anticipated proof presented by attorney to jury at start of trial, before any evidence is submitted.
Opening Statement
: a statement to the jury by trial counsel before the presentation of evidence that usually explains the nature of the case, the factual matters to be proven, and the evidence to be presented and ...
Opening Statements
before the evidence is presented in a trial, lawyers' presentations to the jury summarizing what they intend to present as evidence. Opening statements, like closing arguments, are not themselves ...
1 : engaged in active business 2 : arising out of or relating to the current daily operations of a concern (as in transportation or manufacturing) as distinct from its financial transactions and ...
Operating Expenses
The expenses of a business not directly associated with the making of a product or providing of a service, such as administrative, technical or selling expenses
Operating Lease
see lease
Operating Under The Influence
:driving under the influence
: ministerial
1 a : a belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge b : a formal expression of a judgment or appraisal by an expert see also opinion testimony at testimony compare fact ...
Opinion Letter
see letter
Opinion Testimony
see testimony
Opportunity Cost
: the cost of making an investment that is the difference between the return on one investment and the return on an alternative
Opportunity For Comment
:the chance to express one's views on or provide information about a proposed action and esp. informal rulemaking by a government agency called also opportunity to comment
Opportunity To Be Heard
:the chance to present one's views or objections before being deprived of a right by government authority see also due process
Opportunity To Comment
:opportunity for comment
Opposition Proceeding
A proceeding in which the plaintiff seeks to prevent the issuance of a registration of a mark. An opposition is similar to a proceeding in a federal court, but is held before the Trademark Trial and ...
: an unjust or excessive exercise of power: as a : unlawful, wrongful, or corrupt exercise of authority by a public official acting under color of authority that causes a person harm b : dishonest, ...
1 : the power or right to choose ;also : a choice made or available 2 : a privilege of demanding fulfillment of a contract on any day within a specified time 3 : a contract conveying in exchange ...
Option Contract
see contract
: one who is granted or buys an option
: one who grants or sells an option
Oral Argument
: oral presentation of a party's position and the reasoning behind it before an esp. appellate court
Oral Trust
see trust
1 : a state of peace, freedom from unruly behavior, and respect for law and proper authority [maintain law and ] 2 : an established mode or state of procedure [a call to ] 3 a : a mandate from a ...
Order Bill Of Lading
see bill of lading
Order Paper
see paper
Ordered Liberty
: freedom limited by the need for order in society NOTE: The concept of ordered liberty was the initial standard for determining what provisions of the Bill of Rights were to be upheld by the states ...
: an authoritative decree or law ;esp : a municipal regulation [a zoning ]
: of a kind to be expected from the average person or in the normal course of events ;broadly : of a common kind or degree [an proceeding] compare extraordinary
Ordinary And Necessary Business Expense
: ordinary and necessary expense at expense
Ordinary Care
1 : due care 2 : conformity to the reasonable business standards that prevail in a particular area for a particular business
Ordinary Course Of Business
:the usual manner and range of a business esp. considered in relation to the amount, circumstances, and validity of a particular transfer [the bankruptcy trustee voided a transfer that was not in the ...
Ordinary Gain
see gain
Ordinary Goods
see good
Ordinary Income
: income that does not derive from the exchange or sale of capital assets or property used in one's trade or business and that for individuals includes compensation, interest, dividends, and ...
Ordinary Life Insurance
see life insurance
Ordinary Loss
see loss
Ordinary Negligence
see negligence
Ore Tenus
[Latin, by mouth] : made or presented orally [ore tenus testimony] [evidence presented ore tenus]
Organic Law
: the body of laws (as in a constitution or charter) that form the original foundation of a government ;also : one of the laws that make up such a body
: a body (as a corporation or union) that has a membership acting or united for a common purpose or·ga·ni·za·tion·al adj
Organizational Picketing
: picketing by a labor union for recognition as the organization representing employees
-nized -niz·ing vt 1 a : to set up an administrative structure for b : to persuade to associate in an organization (as a union) 2 : to arrange by systematic planning and united effort [ a ...
Organized Crime
: criminal activity on the part of an organized and extensive group of people compare racketeering
1 : that from which a copy or reproduction is made [both parties signed the ] compare duplicate 2 : a work composed firsthand as the product of an author's creativity NOTE: A work must be an ...
Original Contractor
: general contractor
Original Intent
1 : the actual aim or purpose esp. of the framers of the U.S. Constitution 2 : a conservative theory in constitutional law: only those guarantees intended by the framers and set forth in the text of ...
Original Jurisdiction
see jurisdiction
Original Principal Balance
the total principal owed on a mortgage prior to any payments being made.
Original Promise
see promise
Original Writ
see writ
Original Writing Rule
: best evidence rule
: the quality or fact of being the product of individual creation that warrants copyright protection for a particular work regardless of novelty
-nat·ed -nat·ing vt : to give rise to ;specif : to issue (a mortgage loan) usually for subsequent sale in a pool of mortgage loans to a secondary market compare service vi : to take or ...
the process of preparing, submitting, and evaluating a loan application; generally includes a credit check, verification of employment, and a property appraisal.
Origination Fee
see fee
: a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents ;broadly : a child without a parent or guardian
Orphan Petition
Form I-600
Orphans' Court
: a probate court with limited jurisdiction
(Occupational Safety and Health Act) - Federal law enacted to reduce injuries, illnesses and death among workers resulting from their employment.
Ostensible Agency
see agency
Ostensible Agent
see agent
Ostensible Authority
see authority
Ostensible Ownership
see ownership
Our Federalism
[from the language of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), which proclaimed that “Our Federalism” represents “a system in which there is sensitivity ...
1 : wrongful dispossession esp. of a cotenant 2 : a judgment removing a public officer or depriving a corporation of a public franchise
Out Of Status
A U.S. visa allows the bearer to apply for entry to the U.S. in a certain classification, for a specific purpose. For example, student (F), visitor (B), temporary worker (H). Every visa is issued for ...
Out Of Wedlock (Born Out Of Wedlock)
A child born of parents who were not legally married to each other at that time.
1 : not made under oath or affirmation as part of a judicial proceeding (as a trial or deposition) [an statement] 2 : not made or done as part of a judicial proceeding [an settlement]
: requiring an outlay of cash [ expenses]
Out-Of-Pocket Rule
: a measure of damages from fraud used in some jurisdictions that is based on the difference between the amount paid by the plaintiff and the market value of the thing paid for rather than the value ...
[Old English tlaga, from Old Norse tlagi, from t out + lag lg law] 1 : a person excluded from the benefit or protection of the law [a trespasser is not an ] 2 : a lawless person or a fugitive from ...
Output Contract
see contract
1 : a deeply offensive or violent act 2 : the tort of intentionally inflicting emotional distress
: going beyond standards of decency : utterly intolerable in a civilized society [ conduct] out·ra·geous·ly adv out·ra·geous·ness n
Outside Director
: a corporate director who is neither an employee nor an officer
1 : not paid [had several debts] 2 : publicly issued and sold [a million shares ]
: based on the termination or failure of a prior estate [a limitation ] see also gift over at gift
1 : not traded or effected on an organized securities exchange [ transactions] [ securities] 2 : sold lawfully without a prescription [ drugs]
: an amount exceeding a certain sum or quantity: as a : a percentage of the amount of sales grossed by a retail store that is paid under the terms of a lease in addition to a fixed rent b : an ...
1 : the quality or state of being overbroad [a statute void for ] 2 : a doctrine in constitutional law: a law that prohibits protected conduct (as free speech) as part of its reach may be struck ...
: not sufficiently restricted to a specific subject or purpose [an search] ;esp : characterized by a prohibition or chilling effect on constitutionally protected conduct [an statute] compare vague
1 : the act or result of drawing on a bank account for more than the balance ;also : the amount exceeding the balance in an overdraft 2 : a loan or credit extended on a current account esp. to ...
-drew [-drü] -drawn [-drȯn] -draw·ing vt : to draw checks on (a bank account) for more than the balance vi : to make an overdraft
: business expenses (as rent or insurance) not chargeable to a particular part of the work or product
: including more than is necessary or advisable ;specif : relating to or being legislation that burdens more people than necessary to accomplish the legislation's goal compare underinclusive
: insurance (as from two or more policies) that exceeds the value of the thing covered [ may lead to fraud by the insured] ;broadly : excessive insurance (as from needlessly duplicative coverage)
: payment in excess of what is due
: surplus
: to make (someone or something) the subject of overreaching [this uncounseled defendant was…ed by the prosecution's submission of misinformation to the court "Townsend v. Burke, 334 U.S. 736 ...
1 : conduct that exceeds established limits (as of authority or due process) [claimed that by the prosecution barred a retrial because of double jeopardy] 2 : the gaining of an unconscionable ...
-rode [-rōd] -rid·den [-rid-n] -rid·ing 1 : to prevail or take precedence over [if, as is often the case, federal constitutional principles state statutory or common law "H. P. ...
Overriding Royalty
: an interest in and royalty on the oil, gas, or minerals extracted from another's land that is carved out of the producer's working interest and is not tied to production costs compare royalty
1 : to rule against [the objection was overruled] compare sustain 2 a : to rule against upon review by virtue of a higher authority : set aside reverse [the appeals court overruled the trial ...
An "Overstay" occurs when a visitor stays longer than permitted as shown on his/her Arrival/Departure (I-94) card. A violation of the CBP defined length of admission may make you ineligible for a visa ...
Overt Act
1 : an act directed toward another person that indicates an intent to kill or harm and that justifies self-defense 2 : an outward act that is done in furtherance of a conspiracy, of treason, or of ...
Overtime Compensation
A higher rate of pay (usually 1.5 or 2 times the regular hourly rate) an employer is obligated to pay employees who work more than a certain number of hours in a day or week.
: overrule
pl: -ties [Anglo-French oelté equality, from Latin aequalitat- aequalitas] : a lien created or a pecuniary sum paid by order of the court to effect an equitable partition of property (as in ...
: to have or hold as property ;esp : to have title to [ property]
: one with an interest in and often dominion over property: as a : legal owner in this entry b : one with the right to exclusive use, control, or possession of property c : a purchaser under a ...
Owner Financing
a home purchase where the seller provides all or part of the financing, acting as a lender.
Owner's Policy
the insurance policy that protects the buyer from title defects.
: the state, relation, or fact of being an owner ;also : the rights or interests of an owner [reduced their by one third] absolute ownership : ownership esp. by a single person that is free of any ...
Ownership In Indivision
see ownership
[Anglo-French oyez! hear ye!, from Old French oiez oyez, imperative plural of oir to hear, from Latin audire] used by a court officer (as a bailiff) to gain the attention of people present at the ...
Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options