Black's Law Dictionary / Edition 8

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Overview

For more than a century Black's has been the gold standard for the language of law. Today it is the most widely cited law book in the world. Edited by Bryan A. Garner, the world s leading legal lexicographer, the 9th Edition is the most authoritative, comprehensive law dictionary ever published. It contains more than 45,000 terms and includes: 2,000 more terms than the 8th Edition and 19,000 more than the 7th Edition including click fraud, Code Adam, collaborative law, ecoterrorism, environmental tort, friendly subpoena, happy-slapping, honor crime, secret detention, Schumer box, and super precedent. The date when selected terms were first used in English-language contexts, especially in judicial opinions. Heightened accuracy having more than 200 lawyers around the country reviewed terms. Definitions of more than 1,000 law-related abbreviations and acronyms. Almost 3,000 quotations drawn from sources over five centuries. Alternate spellings or equivalent expressions for more than 5,300 terms and West Key Numbers.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
An essential for every lawyer's library, this venerable 1891 classic has been completely revised and updated by Bryan Garner, a lawyer with a lifetime passion for language, and includes almost 5,000 new definitions with quotations from important cases.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780314158635
  • Publisher: West Academic
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 1364
  • Product dimensions: 9.82 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Acknowledged by linguists and lawyers alike as THE authority in legal language and usage, his influence is both far-reaching and profound. Mr. Garner has has a hand in editing the most important legal references produced in the last decade, as well as in training lawyers and judges on sharpening and clarifying their own legal writing. In short, no one better bridges the worlds of law and language--nor is better suited to take on the classic work and make it better.
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Table of Contents

Some of the new terms appearing for the first time:

Amber Alert
Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act
antispamming law
aspirin wars
autonomy privacy
Baumes Law
Border and Transportation Security
Directorate
Bush doctrine
chad
Child Online Protection Act
cyberpiracy
cyberterrorism
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
digital signature
e-contract
e-money
ethnic cleansing
grandparent rights
hot-potato rule
inscrutable fault
internally displaced person
Lemon test
mahr
Miller trust
Munchausen syndrome by proxy
mutual-fund wrap account
opt-out class
Outer Space Treaty
prophylactic cost
repressed-memory syndrome
reverse Jencks material
Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act
stealth juror
Strategic National Stockpile
terrorism insurance
Vaughn index
zero-tolerance policy

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Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Author Essay
"Can an educated American say ____?" You can fill in the blank with any number of words and phrases. My friend and myself. It's me. Between you and I. Question as to whether. Fulsome praise. Hopefully. Final destination. Orientate. Center around. Someplace. Snuck. Seldom ever. Uncategorically. There are thousands more. These are questions that I field weekly in professional writing seminars. I do my best to answer them in A Dictionary of Modern American Usage.

One perennial question emerges when people ask about grammar: "What grammar book do you recommend?" What the person really wants isn't a grammar at all, but a good dictionary of usage. This underappreciated genre has alphabetical listings of all the most common trouble spots in the language. It's partly grammar ("fused participles"), partly word choice ("self-deprecating" vs. "self-depreciating"), and sometimes a mixture of the two ("It's me" vs. "It's I"). There are dozens of essays on subjects as diverse as Airlinese, Jargon, Punctuation, and Subject-Verb Agreement.

The language is shifting under your very tongue in ways that might surprise you. A Dictionary of Modern American Usage is intended to divert and entertain while providing guidance on where to stand if you want to avoid linguistic fault lines. My guidance is a blend of the traditional and the modern. I favor keeping our continuity with the past without letting the language become petrified. And I try to be down-to-earth. So forget "It's I."

How did I get into this?

At the age of 15, I realized that the use of the English language was my main intellectual interest. That being so, David Foster Wallace says in Harper's magazine that I must have been "repeatedly and savagely wedgied" as a teenager. Not so -- though I take his point. Actually, I kept my long forays to the college library a little secret within the family and still lettered in golf, led the high school band as drum major, and acted in school plays. By my junior year, when I had acquired the habit of occasionally using big words ("epizeuxis" and "ignoratio elenchi" were among my favorites), I was too big for the kind of abuse Wallace imagines. It took a few more years for me to outgrow this annoying habit of using big words, but in the meantime I worked assiduously to build my vocabulary.

And I had discovered my favorite literary genre: the dictionary of usage. H. W. Fowler, Wilson Follett, Theodore Bernstein, and Eric Partridge had become my literary heroes. By the time I was ready for college, I had essentially memorized everything that these writers had said about English usage -- in the same way that other kids memorize sports stats or car models. Not just any linguistic facts interested me: They had to be genuinely useful facts. They had to help me (or anyone) write better.

In college, studying liberal arts at the University of Texas, I was drawn to courses on literature, rhetoric, literary criticism, and the history of the English language. My plan was still, as it had been in high school, to become a lawyer and use my rhetorical skills within the law. But my success in publishing articles on Shakespearean language -- and the encouragement of my undergraduate mentors, the Shakespearean specialist John W. Velz and the linguistic historian Thomas Cable -- led me to flirt with pursuing a Ph.D. in English, with a focus on lexicography. I almost went that route.

But no. My fiancée (now my wife), a graduate student in political science, said she was convinced that I was meant to be a lawyer -- not an English professor. I agreed. When law school began, I was immediately struck by how many archaic phrases -- Elizabethan phrases -- were popping up in the judicial decisions I was reading. I went to the library to see what scholars had written about legal language, found very little to my liking, and immediately decided to write a book about legal language. Within the first week of law school, I had named it A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage. I wanted it to do for lawyers what H. W. Fowler had done for writers at large.

I ended up founding LawProse, Inc., which provides seminars for lawyers on brief writing and contract drafting. I wrote or edited more books on law and language, most notably The Elements of Legal Style and Black's Law Dictionary. I've now produced four editions of Black's -- the unabridged deluxe, the regular unabridged, the abridged, and the pocket. My whole approach to legal lexicography has been to try to make the law as accessible as possible to everyone -- to persuade lawyers that it's not in their best interests to use highfalutin jargon and gobbledygook. After all, avoiding these bad habits promotes clear thinking.

But my first love is the English language -- not just the legal part of the English language. So when Oxford asked me to write a dictionary of American usage, I was delighted at the prospect of broadening my horizons and dealing with the English language as a whole. Since I was following Fowler's model, I called it A Dictionary of Modern American Usage. The idea was to provide a guide for educated Americans who want an answer to the question, "Can I say this and still have credibility with readers and listeners?" My intended readers, quite simply, are educated people -- students, businesspeople, professors, novelists, nonfiction writers, newscasters, you name it -- who want authoritative guidance on where the language stands today.

"May I split an infinitive?" (Yes, but first you really need to know what one is.) "May I split a verb phrase?" (You'd better: Any other placement is awkward. And grammarians have consistently said -- there's a split!-- this since 1782!) "May I end a sentence with a preposition?" (If you want to. I have a two-page essay on the subject.) "Should I use the serial comma?" (Yes, unless you're a journalist.) On and on the questions go. My rulings -- since I'm playing the role of judge -- add up to a kind of linguistic jurisprudence. Like any judge, I have biases. Mine are in favor of clarity, simplicity, and credibility. (Bryan A. Garner)

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Customer Reviews

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( 28 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    So helpful!

    I received this as a college graduation gift, and I have used it so much even in my first few weeks of law school. It is so helpful and great for clarifying new terms, etc. in the casebooks.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    A reviewer

    As student intending to become an attorney or paralegal, this book is a cornerstone that will be used and referred to for many years. A great hint for a Christmas present if you are a student. If you want one to throw in a backpack, get the paperback - it's lighter - but if you appreciate the feel and heft of a truly fine book, this one is for you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2003

    The key to any good law class.

    The additions that were made in this book are very helpful. The part on contexts are the most useful; I will be able to use this book for years to come.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Black's Law Dictionary

    I must say that the dictionary was indeed easy to use and extremely helpful in writing up my cases. I find that the dictionary is the one book that every Lincoln Douglass debater must have in their library. The book is also useful when looking at the Supreme Law of the Land for it has a copy of the Constitution that was also helpful. All in all I say that the format and structure of the dictionary was by far one of the best that I have seen and I am greatful that I bought it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2003

    Great for Public Administration

    A great reference book for public administrators or those interested in the Law. Bought when i was writing federal regulations to help me with understanding legal cites from Congress. Used now as a desk reference. Recommend at least one Latin course prior to purchase.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2002

    Excellent reference

    Got this for Christmas 2002. It's perfect for law students and criminal justice pupils.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2002

    The Bible of Debate...

    As a debator, Black's is the ultimate source for all the definitions that I need to know for my cases!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2002

    A book of truth one of many by this author.

    I am an independant student of law and this book covers many of the uncovered truths of real law.It doesn't focus on statutes. Great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2002

    Great for Law Students!

    As a student of law, I have found this book to be indispensable. It covers everything you need from IRAC to the constitution. A must for all serious law professionals.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2000

    Great Resource

    I have been using this book as a reference in my undergrad law classes and my classmates call me at home to look up words for them. Overall a good investment and will be a life long friend for the future lawyer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 7, 2014

    Valuable resource!

    Bigger than what I thought it was going to be, but well crafted and easy to use. Good purchase!

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    Excellent Reference Book

    Excellent reference for anyone who wants a general understanding of legal terms.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2007

    Excellent Tool

    Excellent resource. Helps clarify many legal terms. Every law student and lawyer should have a copy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2003

    great for a debater

    if you have a son or daughter in LD debate, this is the best book to define your case!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2002

    Blacks Law Dictionary!!!

    This book is the best gift you can give to a Law student

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2002

    The Only Dictionary for Law

    This is the authoritative dictionary for the Law. It has everything and makes a great gift for any lawyer or student of the law.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    Black's is Great For Law Students

    Trying to find a present for my brother's graduation from law school was pretty difficult. That was until I asked two lawyers what he would need. They both said Black's Law Dictionary. Now that my brother is graduated, he is using it to study for the bar and said he will definitely need it during his career.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2001

    Black's Is Best

    This is an outstanding reference tool for anyone in the legal profession. As a police officer, I have found this law dictionary to be the best of many that I have utilized.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

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    Posted April 25, 2010

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

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