Definitions

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

  • n. Law An opinion voiced by a judge that has only incidental bearing on the case in question and is therefore not binding. Also called dictum.
  • n. An incidental remark or observation; a passing comment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a statement or remark in a court's judgment that is not essential to the disposition of the case.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An incidental and collateral opinion uttered by a judge. See dictum, n., 2 (a).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an opinion voiced by a judge on a point of law not directly bearing on the case in question and therefore not binding
  • n. an incidental remark

Etymologies

Latin, something said in passing : obiter, in passing + dictum, something said, from neuter past participle of dīcere, to say.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin “a saying by the way” (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • R. Cross, the leading modern English writer on precedent, declines to regard the distinction between ratio decidendi and obiter dictum as “entirely chimerical” in English law and concludes that to accept the views of Judge Jerome

    LEGAL PRECEDENT

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