from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The specialized vocabulary of the legal profession, especially when considered to be complex or abstruse.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The technical talk of the legal profession, the argot of lawyers.
- n. Wording that resembles how a lawyer writes, especially such that is confusing to the layperson.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A style of writing or speaking heavily emphasizing the abstruse technical vocabulary of the law, to the point where a speech or document may be incomprehensible to non-specialists.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a style that uses the abstruse technical vocabulary of the law
Reading a 5,000 word contract printed in minuscule print, full of legalese, is one thing, understanding it is a totally different thing.
There are millions of Americans who are not proficient at reading and comprehension, much less reading and understanding any contract that is written in legalese … ….
The actual document reads like Japanese stereo instructions and is written in legalese, a form that by design keeps all but the most die-hards from understanding it.
Indeed, I think law and philology are closely related disciplines and law could learn a lot more from philology (and American legalese is interesting to me as an amateur philologist for a rather unusual reason*).
This is a concept called "laches" in legalese; the team was established in 1967, the case brought in 1992, and it had dragged on until now, 2009, for 17 years.
While the language of law can reach tremendous heights, legalese is more often painfully, agonizingly dull.
I read some of the legalese from the judgement, but mostly his commentary, which I found interesting and informative.
I mean, was it, dull ... too wrapped up in legalese and minutia to be enjoyable?
To start, let me give you a bit of advice that I give fellow attorneys caught up in legalese - try speaking in plain English.
Comments if i may, with my law degree but never practiced, lawyers are frustrated linguists. they think they write well, they don't. they invent words and pretend they were forever in the dictionary. they enjoy pointless recaps and legalese is simply the worst language that ever existed, grammatically and otherwise. and if you happen to voice that opinion they get quite uppity. phew.
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