Law Dictionary: A Comprehensive Guide to Legal Terms and Concepts

A law dictionary is a reference book that provides definitions of legal terms and phrases. Law dictionaries are used by lawyers, judges, law students, and other legal professionals to research the meaning of legal terms and to ensure that they are using the correct terminology in their legal work.

Law dictionaries typically include definitions of a wide range of legal terms, including:

  • Legal concepts: Such as negligence, contract, and tort
  • Legal procedures: Such as discovery, trial, and appeal
  • Legal terminology: Such as subpoena, affidavit, and deposition

Law dictionaries also often include other information, such as:

  • Case citations: References to cases where the legal term or phrase has been interpreted by a court
  • Cross-references: References to related legal terms or phrases
  • Examples: Examples of how the legal term or phrase is used in context

How to Use a Law Dictionary

When using a law dictionary, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Choose the right law dictionary. There are a number of different law dictionaries available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some law dictionaries are more comprehensive than others, while others are more specialized in certain areas of law. Choose a law dictionary that is appropriate for your needs.
  • Look up the word or phrase in context. When looking up a legal term or phrase in a law dictionary, be sure to consider the context in which it is being used. The meaning of a legal term or phrase can vary depending on the context in which it is used.
  • Read the entire definition. Don’t just read the first few words of the definition. Be sure to read the entire definition to get a full understanding of the meaning of the legal term or phrase.
  • Consider the source. When using a law dictionary, it is important to consider the source of the dictionary. Some law dictionaries are more authoritative than others. For example, Black’s Law Dictionary is one of the most widely used and respected law dictionaries in the United States.


Law dictionaries are an essential tool for legal professionals. By using a law dictionary correctly, you can ensure that you are using the correct terminology in your legal work and that you have a good understanding of the legal terms and phrases that you are using.