Dictionary of Law
M. O. :: n. slang for modus operandi, the way or pattern in ... her crime. See also: modus operandi
magistrate :: n. 1) a generic term for any judge of a court, or ... ce of the peace preliminary hearing
Magna Carta :: n. Latin for "Great Charter," it was a document de ... s. It is also spelled Magna Charta.
mail box rule :: n. in contract law, making a written offer or acce ... nse in hand when the time runs out.
maim :: v. to inflict a serious bodily injury, including m ... to a prison term. See also: mayhem
majority :: n. 1) the age when a person can exercise all norma ... t. See also: child infancy minority
make :: v. 1) to create something. 2) to sign a check, pro ... xchange check maker promissory note
make one whole :: v. to pay or award damages sufficient to put the p ... fault of another. See also: damages
maker :: n. 1) the person who signs a check or promissory n ... : check payee payor promissory note
malfeasance :: n. intentionally doing something either legally or ... sponsibility. See also: misfeasance
malice :: n. a conscious, intentional wrongdoing either of a ... cution murder public figure slander
malice aforethought :: n. 1) the conscious intent to cause death or great ... : first degree murder malice murder
malicious prosecution :: n. filing a lawsuit with the intention of creating ... vor of the victim. See also: malice
malpractice :: n. An act or continuing conduct of a professional ... eed. See also: errors and omissions
malum in se :: (mal-uhm in say) adv. Latin referring to an act th ... hibitum. See also: malum prohibitum
malum prohibitum :: (mal-uhm prohibit-uhm) adj. Latin meaning "wrong d ... lso: malum in se white collar crime
mandamus :: (man-dame-us) n. Latin for "we order," a writ (mor ... mandamus. See also: writ of mandate
mandate :: n. 1) any mandatory order or requirement under sta ... See also: mandamus writ of mandate
mandatory :: adj., adv. absolutely demanded or required. ... v. absolutely demanded or required.
mandatory joinder :: n. the required inclusion of a party in a lawsuit ... sues in the case. See also: joinder
manifest :: 1) adj., adv. completely obvious or evident. 2) n. ... ritten list of goods in a shipment.
Mann Act :: n. a federal statute making it a crime to transpor ... is five years in a federal prison.
manslaughter :: n. the unlawful killing of another person without ... laughter. See also: homicide murder
marital deduction :: n. an estate tax deduction allowed a surviving spo ... community property estate tax trust
marital rights :: n. an old-fashioned expression for the rights of a ... also: consortium loss of consortium
maritime law :: n. Also called "admiralty law" or "the law of admi ... r maritime law. See also: admiralty
mark :: n. an "X" made by a person who is illiterate or to ... make the will valid. See also: will
marked for identification :: adj. documents or objects presented during a trial ... exhibit lay a foundation objection
market value :: n. the price which a seller of property would rece ... ich are often called "comparables."
marketable title :: n. the title to real property which has no encumbr ... e. See also: contract real property
marriage :: n. the joining of a male and female in matrimony b ... of time without legal formalities.
marshal :: 1) n. a federal court official who may serve paper ... tablish priorities among creditors.
martial law :: n. a system of complete control by a country's mil ... n and women. See also: military law
Massachusetts Trust :: n. a business in which the investors give manageme ... provide for eventual distribution.
master :: n. 1) employer, in the area of law known as "maste ... ter and servant respondeat superior
master and servant :: n. the body of law, including statutes and legal d ... lso: employment respondeat superior
material :: adj. relevant and significant. In a lawsuit, "mate ... contract is not a material breach.
material representation :: n. a convincing statement made to induce someone t ... bility. See also: contract material
material witness :: n. a person who apparently has information about t ... e. See also: material trial witness
matter of record :: n. anything, including testimony, evidence, ruling ... cussions not written down or taped.
maturity :: n. 1) the date when the payment of the principal a ... exchange legal age promissory note
maxims :: n. a collection of legal truisms which are used as ... e and the ordinary habits of life."
may :: v. a choice to act or not, or a promise of a possi ... sion or regulation. See also: shall
mayhem :: 1) n. the criminal act of disabling, disfiguring o ... so: aggravated assault assault maim
McNabb-Mallory rule :: n. a federal rule of evidence in criminal trials t ... present. See also: Miranda warning
mechanic's lien :: n. the right of a craftsman, laborer, supplier, ar ... ll sue for the debt. See also: lien
mediation :: n. the attempt to settle a legal dispute through a ... a settlement. See also: arbitration
mediator :: n. a person who conducts mediation. A mediator is ... o: arbitration arbitrator mediation
meet and confer :: n. a requirement of courts that before certain typ ... s which are freighted with emotion.
meeting of the minds :: n. when two parties to an agreement (contract) bot ... eant his cattle. See also: contract
memorandum :: n. 1) a brief writing, note, summary or outline. 2 ... r "The decision below is affirmed."
mens rea :: (menz ray-ah) n. Latin for a "guilty mind," or cri ... ing the act. See also: crime intent
mental anguish :: n. mental suffering which includes fright, feeling ... See also: damages mental suffering
mental competency :: n. See also: competent ... n. See also: competent
mental cruelty :: n. a term, rapidly going out of fashion and out of ... history. See also: cruelty divorce
mental suffering :: n. emotional pain synonymous with "mental anguish. ... anguish." See also: mental anguish
mercantile law :: n. that broad area of the law (also called commerc ... tion seller Uniform Commercial Code
merchantable :: adj. a product of a high enough quality to make it ... taminated or flawed. See also: sale
merger :: n. 1) in corporate law, the joining together of tw ... and taking one, and wife the other.
mesne :: : (mean, with a silent s) adj. from Norman French ... e profits." See also: mesne profits
mesne profits :: n. profits which have accrued while there was a di ... ed "mesne profits." See also: mesne
metes and bounds :: (meets and bounds) n. a surveyor's description of ... of a parcel or lot are first drawn.
military law :: n. regulations governing the conduct of men and wo ... also: court-martial judge advocate
mining claim :: n. a description by boundaries of real property in ... g within a specific period of time.
ministerial act :: n. an act, particularly of a governmental employee ... exercising any individual judgment.
minor :: n. someone under legal age, which is generally 18, ... rages. See also: legal age maturity
minority :: n. 1) in voting, a side with less than half the vo ... See also: legal age majority minor
minutes :: n. 1) the written record of meetings, particularly ... court reporter if recorded at all.
Miranda warning :: n. the requirement, also called the Miranda rule, ... me such a suspect? See also: rights
mirror wills :: n. the wills of a husband and wife which are ident ... d each names the other as executor.
misadventure :: n. a death due to unintentional accident without a ... me. See also: homicide manslaughter
misappropriation :: n. the intentional, illegal use of the property or ... mbezzlement fiduciary larceny theft
misdemeanor :: n. a lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or coun ... tion are felonies. See also: felony
misfeasance :: n. management of a business, public office or othe ... n of the law. See also: malfeasance
misjoinder :: n. the inclusion of parties (plaintiffs or defenda ... ent transactions. See also: joinder
misnomer :: n. the wrong name. ... n. the wrong name.
misprision of a felony :: n. the crime of concealing another's felony (serio ... also: accessory aid and abet felony
misrepresentation :: n. the crime of misstating facts to obtain money, ... etenses." See also: false pretenses
mistake :: n. 1) an error in comprehending facts, meaning of ... time. See also: contract rescission
mistrial :: n. the termination of a trial before its normal co ... from the beginning. See also: trial
mitigating circumstances :: n. in criminal law, conditions or happenings which ... ity heat of passion Twinkie defense
mitigation of damages :: n. the requirement that someone injured by another ... he lease) to mitigate his/her loss.
M'Naughten rule :: n. a traditional "right and wrong" test of legal i ... temporary insanity Twinkie defense
modification :: n. a change in an existing court order or judgment ... terms of child support and custody.
modus operandi :: (mode-us ah-purr-and-ee or ah-purr-and-eye) n. fro ... es to disguise a fraudulent scheme.
moiety :: : (moy-et-tee) n. half. Generally a reference to i ... perty, moiety is seldom used today.
molestation :: n. the crime of sexual acts with children up to th ... of rape. See also: pedophilia rape
monopoly :: n. a business or inter-related group of businesses ... ust laws license restraint of trade
month-to-month :: adj. referring to a tenancy in which the tenant pa ... e also: landlord and tenant tenancy
monument :: n. 1) an established landmark which a surveyor use ... torn down or substantially altered.
moot :: adj. 1) unsettled, open to argument or debatable, ... st. See also: moot court moot point
moot court :: n. law school exercise in which students argue bot ... fferent law schools. See also: moot
moot point :: n. 1) a legal question which no court has decided, ... f academic interest. See also: moot
moral certainty :: n. in a criminal trial, the reasonable belief (but ... : beyond a reasonable doubt verdict
moral turpitude :: n. gross violation of standards of moral conduct, ... r penalty for a criminal defendant.
moratorium :: n. 1) any suspension of activity, particularly vol ... to normal activities and earnings.
mortgage :: n. a document in which the owner pledges his/her/i ... losure notice of default trust deed
mortgagee :: n. the person or business making a loan that is se ... money. See also: mortgage mortgagor
mortgagor :: n. the person who has borrowed money and pledged h ... agee). See also: mortgage mortgagee
motion :: n. a formal request made to a judge for an order o ... g, an oral motion may be permitted.
motion for a new trial :: n. a request made by the loser for the case to be ... hstanding the verdict motion N.O.V.
motion for a summary judgment :: n. a written request for a judgment in the moving ... strict procedures. See also: motion
motion for dismissal :: (non-suit) n. application by a defendant in a laws ... otion for nonsuit. See also: motion
motion in limine :: (lim-in-nay) n. Latin for "threshold," a motion ma ... o: in limine Miranda warning motion
motion to strike :: n. a request for a judge's order to eliminate all ... be unrung." See also: motion strike
motion to suppress :: n. a motion (usually on behalf of a criminal defen ... eshold." See also: motion in limine
motive :: n. in criminal investigation the probable reason a ... is not necessary to prove a crime.
mouthpiece :: n. old-fashioned slang for one's lawyer. ... d-fashioned slang for one's lawyer.
movant :: n. the party in a lawsuit or other legal proceedin ... or judgment). See also: motion move
move :: v. to make a motion in court applying for a court ... r judgment. See also: motion movant
multifarious :: adj., adv. reference to a lawsuit in which either ... ed misjoinder. See also: misjoinder
multiplicity of suits :: n. several actual or potential lawsuits which shou ... e can order the cases consolidated.
municipal :: adj. referring to an incorporated or chartered cit ... rporated or chartered city or town.
municipal court :: n. a lower court which usually tries criminal misd ... nd/or small claims. See also: court
muniment of title :: n. documentary evidence of title to real property. ... also: deed quiet title action title
murder :: n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, ... premeditation second degree murder
mutual :: adj., adv. referring to anything in which both par ... rights, understanding or agreement.
mutual wills :: n. wills made by two people (usually spouses, but ... r the other person making the will.