Words Definitions
a fortiori(ah-for-she-ory) prep. Latin for "with even stronger reason," which applies to a situation in which if one thing is true then it can be inferred that a second thing is even more certainly true. Thus, if Abel is too young to serve as administrator, then his younger brother Cain certainly is too young.
a priori assumption(ah-pree-ory) n. from Latin, an assumption that is true without further proof or need to prove it. It is assumed the sun will come up tomorrow. However, it has a negative side: an a priori assumption made without question on the basis that no analysis or study is necessary, can be mental laziness when the reality is not so certain.
a.k.a.prep. abbreviation for "also known as" when someone uses different initials, a nickname, a maiden or married name. Example: Harold G. Snodgrass, a.k.a. Harry Snodgrass, a.k.a. H. G. Snodgrass, a.k.a. "Snuffy the Snod."
ab initioprep. lawyer Latin for "from the start," as "it was legal ab initio."
abandonv. to intentionally and permanently give up, surrender, leave, desert or relinquish all interest or ownership in property, a home or other premises, a right of way, and even a spouse, family, or children. The word is often used in situations to determine whether a tenant has left his/her apartment and the property inside and does not intend to come back. Thus, a landlord can take over an apparently abandoned residence, but must store anything a tenant leaves behind and give notice to the tenant before selling the possessions which are left. To abandon children can mean to have no contact and give no support for a year or more.
abandoned propertyn. property left behind (often by a tenant) intentionally and permanently when it appears that the former owner (or tenant) does not intend to come back, pick it up, or use it. Examples may include possessions left in a house after the tenant has moved out or autos left beside a road for a long period of time, or patent rights of an inventor who does not apply for a patent and lets others use his invention without protest. One may have abandoned the property of contract rights by not doing what is required by the contract. However, an easement and other land rights are not abandoned property just because of non-use.
abandonmentn. the act of intentionally and permanently giving up, surrendering, deserting or relinquishing property, premises, a right of way, a ship, contract rights, a spouse and/or children. Abandonment of a spouse means intent at permanent separation, and with children a lengthy period of neither contact nor any support. In maritime law abandonment has a special meaning: when an owner surrenders a ship and its contents to a trustee for the benefit of claimants, particularly after a wreck. If one invents something and does not get a patent but allows others to use the invention or dedicates it to public use, the right to patent is probably abandoned. Confusion arises over abandonment of water rights, mining rights, or rights of way, since mere non-use is not sufficient to show abandonment.
abatev. to do away with a problem, such as a public or private nuisance or some structure built contrary to public policy. This can include dikes which illegally direct water onto a neighbor's property, high volume noise from a rock band or a factory, an improvement constructed in violation of building and safety codes, or seepage from a faulty septic tank.
abatementn. 1) the removal of a problem which is against public or private policy, or endangers others, including nuisances such as weeds that might catch fire on an otherwise empty lot; 2) an equal reduction of recovery of debts by all creditors when there are not enough funds or assets to pay the full amount; 3) an equal reduction of benefits to beneficiaries (heirs) when an estate is not large enough to pay each beneficiary in full.
abductionn. the criminal taking away of a person by persuasion (convincing someone-particularly a minor or a woman-he/she is better off leaving with the persuader), by fraud (telling the person he/she is needed, or that the mother or father wants him/her to come with the abductor), or by open force or violence. Originally abduction applied only to protect women and children as victims. Currently in most states it can also apply to an adult male. In fact, in some states like New York abduction meant the unlawful taking or detention of any female for purposes of "marriage, concubinage or prostitution." Kidnapping is more limited, requiring force, threat of force upon an adult or the taking of children.
abetv. to help someone commit a crime, including helping them escape from police or plan the crime.
abeyance1) n. when the owner- ship of property has not been determined. Examples include title to real property in the estate of a person who has died and there is no obvious party to receive title or there appears to be no legal owner of the property, a shipwreck while it is being determined who has the right to salvage the ship and its cargo, or a bankrupt person's property before the bankruptcy court has decided what property is available to creditors or alleged heirs. 2) legal jargon for "undetermined."
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