from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A judgment against a plaintiff for failure to present enough evidence for a jury to decide in the plaintiff's favor, or for failure to pursue a lawsuit, such as by proceeding to trial.
  • noun A dismissal of a lawsuit because the plaintiff has failed to pursue it.
  • transitive verb To render a judgment of nonsuit against (a plaintiff).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Nonsuited.
  • In law, to subject to a nonsuit; deprive of the benefit of a legal process, owing to failure to appear in court when called upon, or to prove a case.
  • noun A judgment or decision against a plaintiff when he fails to show a cause of action at the trial: now often called dismissal of complaint. See calling of the plaintiff, under calling.
  • noun A judgment ordered for neglect to prosecute; a non pros.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Nonsuited.
  • transitive verb (Law) To determine, adjudge, or record (a plaintiff) as having dropped his suit, upon his withdrawal or failure to follow it up.
  • noun (Law) A neglect or failure by the plaintiff to follow up his suit; a stopping of the suit; a renunciation or withdrawal of the cause by the plaintiff, either because he is satisfied that he can not support it, or upon the judge's expressing his opinion. A compulsory nonsuit is a nonsuit ordered by the court on the ground that the plaintiff on his own showing has not made out his case.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun law A lawsuit that is dismissed as having been brought without cause, prior to an adjudication on the merits.
  • verb law, transitive To dismiss (a plaintiff) on the grounds of his or her lawsuit having been brought without cause, prior to an adjudication on the merits.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, failure of a plaintiff to prosecute, from Anglo-Norman nounsuite : noun-, no (from Latin nōn; see non–) + suite, suit; see suit.]



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  • But, said I, how do you know that your fifteen hundred ducats were faithfully paid into his hands? Unquestionably they were! exclaimed Don Raphael; I would answer for the disinterested purity of that ecclesiastic as soon as for my own. I would be your collateral security, said Lamela; he is a priest of the strictest sanctity, a sort of universal almoner; and though many times cited for sums of money, deposited with him for charitable uses, he has always nonsuited the plaintiff and gone out of court with an augmentation of alms-giving notoriety.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 10 ch. 6

    October 9, 2008