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Burtons Legal Thesaurus 5th edition: Over 10,000 Synonyms, Terms, and Expressions Specifically Related to the Legal Profession

Burtons Legal Thesaurus 5th edition: Over 10,000 Synonyms, Terms, and Expressions Specifically Related to the Legal Profession

by William Burton

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Updated with 1,000 essential new terms--from "whistleblower" to "bailout"

The first book of its kind when it was orginally published in 1980, Burton's Legal Thesaurus has become a staple for everyone in the legal profession. Addressing the newest concepts before the nation's highest



Updated with 1,000 essential new terms--from "whistleblower" to "bailout"

The first book of its kind when it was orginally published in 1980, Burton's Legal Thesaurus has become a staple for everyone in the legal profession. Addressing the newest concepts before the nation's highest courts, the fifth edition celebrates 35 years of this one-of-a-kind law reference tool. With 11,000 critical-to-know legal terms, synonyms, definitions, and parts of speech, Burton’s is essential for:

  • Partners, associates, attorneys, and judges, who will appreciate the timeliness of the 1,000-plus new entries
  • Law school students seeking to use a more specific word or recall a forgotten word
  • Journalists and scholars looking for the right word to fit the thought


"A tool to strengthen the lawyer's vocabulary and improve the precision of legal writing." -- Maryland Bar Journal

"Given the popularity of plain language laws, the Legal Thesaurus could be just the book to own." -- United States Law Week

"The legal profession should find this volume valuable in using the exact word to convey the meaning intended." -- New York State Bar Journal

"It is through the use of such a tool as the Legal Thesaurus that one may find the precise term to fit the nuances of a particular situation." -- William O. Douglas, Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1939-1975

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Over 10,000 Synonyms, Terms, and Expressions Specifically Related to the Legal Profession

By William C. Burton

McGraw-Hill Education

Copyright © 2013 William C. Burton
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-181881-0




A FORTIORI, adverb above all, accordingly, all the more, by a stronger reason, by inference, certainly, chiefly, consequently, ergo, especially, even more, for a certainty, for a still stronger reason, in chief, in the main, mainly, over and above, paramountly, particularly, primarily, thus, with the greater force

A PRIORI, adverb accordingly, as a consequence, as a result of, as is, because of this, by reason of, consequently, deducibly, deductively, derivatively, doubtlessly, ergo, ex concesso, for that reason, for this reason, for which reason, from a general law to a particular instance, from cause to effect, from that cause, from this cause, in consequence, inferentially, necessarily, on account of this, on that account, on that ground, proceeding from antecedent to consequent, thusly, to that end

A SAVOIR, adverb below, details now to be provided, the following, hence, hereunder, hereupon, namely, next, now to be accounted for, now to be announced, now to be described, now to be enunciated, now to be itemized, now to be listed, now to be mentioned, now to be narrated, now to be presented, now to be read, now to be recited, now to be recounted, now to be reported, now to be set forth, now to be stated, now to follow, subsequently set down, the succeeding, that is, that is to say, to wit, videlicet

AB INITIO, adverb ab origine, ab ovo, as a start, at first, at the beginning, at the start, chiefly, first, first and foremost, first of all, firstly, for a beginning, from its birth, from the beginning, in its infancy, in the beginning, in the first place, initially, mainly, originally, primarily, principally

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: ab initio, void

ABALIENATE, verb assign, bequeath, convey, demise, grant, hand down, hand over, pass on, transfer, transfer by deed, transfer by will

ABALIENATION, noun alienation, assignation, assignment, conferment, consignment, conveyance, deeding, deliverance, delivery, grant of conveyance, transfer, the transfer of title, transmission

ABANDON (Physically leave), verb abscond, absent oneself, back out, be gone, be off, cast off, decamp, defect, depart from, desert, destituere, disappear, emigrate, evacuate, forsake, hominem deserere, leave behind, leave in the lurch, make one's exit, move off, quit, remove from, retreat, run away, secede from, set off, slip away from, take leave, take one's departure, take one's leave, turn one's back on

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abandoned husband, abandoned land, abandoned property, abandoned wife, desertion

ABANDON (Relinquish), verb abjure, abstain, apostasize, cast aside, cast away, cast off, cease, cede, concede, demit, desert, desist, discard, discontinue, dispense with, dispose of, dispossess oneself of, disuse, divest oneself of, drop, forbear, forgo, forsake, forswear, give away, give over, give up, give up claim to, go back on, jettison, lay aside, part with, put aside, quit, render up, renounce, repudiate, resign, sacrifice, set aside, surrender, tergiversate, throw away, throw off, turn away, yield

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abandon a claim, abandon a crime, renunciate a claim, surrender property

ABANDON (Withdraw), verb ab re desistere, abdicate, back down, back off, back out, forsake, omittere, pull out, quit, rem relinquere, renege, retire, retract, retreat, stand aside, tender one's resignation, vacate office

ABANDONED, adjective castaway, castoff, derelict, deserted, discontinued, disregarded, disused, forsaken, ignored, neglected, obsolete, occupantless, out of use, slighted, tenantless, unattended to, uncared for, uninhabited, unoccupied, unpopulated, untenanted

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abandoned claims, abandoned evidence, abandoned husband or wife, abandoned leasehold, abandoned property, abandonment of pleadings

ABANDONMENT (Desertion), noun abrogation, apostasy, cession, decampment, defection, demission, departure, dereliction, disaffection, disavowal, evacuation, flight, hasty departure, relinquishment, repudiation, retirement, vacating, withdrawal

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abandonment of a child, abandonment of a husband, abandonment of a property, abandonment of a wife, abandonment of land, dissolution of marriage, Enoch Arden laws

FOREIGN PHRASES: Occupantis fiunt derelicta. Things abandoned become the property of the first who is the occupant.

ABANDONMENT (Discontinuance), noun abdication, abrogation, cessation, derelictio, desistance, discontinuation, disjunction, disruption, relinquishment, surrender, suspension, withdrawal

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abandonment of a crime, abandonment of a pleading, abandonment of an easement, abandonment of assets in bankruptcy, abandonment of proscriptive rights

ABANDONMENT (Repudiation), noun abnegation, cancellation, declination, denial, disapprobation, disapproval, disavowal, dismissal, disownment, rejection, renouncement, renunciation, reprobation, rescission

ABANDONMENT OF A TRADEMARK, noun abjuration, disownment, disuse, divestiture, divestment, forfeiture, relinquishment, resignation, surrender

ABASE, verb abuse, adulterate, belittle, bring down, brutalize, calumniate, debase, decivilize, defame, deform, degrade, demean, demote, derogate, diminish, discredit, disgrace, dishonor, downgrade, humble, humiliate, lower, pervert, reduce, set down, shame, take down, vitiate, vituperate, warp

ABATE (Extinguish), verb abolish, abrogate, annul, cadere, cancel, defeat, destroy, discontinue, dissolve, eliminate, exterminate, invalidate, nullify, obliterate, put an end to, quash, quell, repeal, rescind, revoke, terminate, void

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abate a bequest, abate a cause of action, abate a debt, abate a devise, abate a legacy, abate an action

ABATE (Lessen), verb alleviate, curtail, decline, decrease, decrescere, diminish, imminui, lighten, limit, mitigate, modify, palliate, reduce, relieve, remittere, suppress, temper

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abate a nuisance, abate a tax

ABATEMENT (Extinguishment), noun abolition, abrogation, annulment, cancellation, deadening, defeat, destruction, discontinuance, dissolution, elimination, extermination, invalidation, nonuse, nullification, obliteration, remissio, repeal, rescindment, revocation, termination, voidance

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abatement by death, abatement of a bequest, abatement of a cause of action, abatement of a freehold, abatement of a legacy, abatement of an action, abatement of debts, abatement of taxes, plea in abatement

FOREIGN PHRASES: Cassetur billa. That the bill be quashed. Cassetur breve. That the writ be quashed.

ABATEMENT (Reduction), noun alleviation, curtailment, declination, decline, decrease, decrement, deminutio, diminishing, diminution, lessening, lightening, limitation, mitigation, modification, palliation, reduction, relief, remissio, suppression, tempering

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abatable nuisance, abatement of a tax

ABDICATE, verb abandon, back out, be relieved, cede, demit, drop, forgo, forfeit, give the reins to, give up, hand over, hold off, leave, let go, make way for, quit one's hold, relinquish, resign, retire, stand aside, surrender, unclench, vacate office, withdraw, yield

ABDICATION, noun abandonment, abdicatio, abjuration, demission, departure, deposition, dethronement, eiuratio, leaving, quitting, relinquishment, renunciation, resignation, surrender, surrender of control, uncrowning, vacating, vacation, withdrawal

FOREIGN PHRASES: Cessa regnare, si non vis judicare. Cease to reign, if you don't wish to adjudicate.

ABDUCT, verb carry away, convey away, decamp, denude, deprive, ensnare, impress, kidnap, pirate, purloin, ravish, shanghai, spirit away, subjugate, take away, take by force, take surreptitiously


FOREIGN PHRASES: A piratis aut latronibus capti liberi permanent. Persons taken by pirates or robbers remain free.

ABDUCTION, noun child-stealing, impressment, kidnapping, overmastering, raptus, ravishment, shanghaiing, spiriting away, subjugation, taking away

ABEREMURDER, noun assassination, carnage, dealing death, decimation, destruction of life, elimination, extermination, extinction, homicide, killing, killing with malice aforethought, liquidation, massacre, slaughter, slaying, taking of life, unlawful homicide

ABERRANCE, noun aberration, abnormality, abnormity, anomaly, change, deviation, difference, distinguishing characteristics, erroneousness, error, individual characteristics, irregularity, out of the ordinary, peculiarity, perversion, unnaturalness

ABERRANCY, noun aberration, abnormality, abnormity, anomaly, deviation, distinguishing characteristics, erroneousness, error, irregularity, peculiarity, perversion, speciality, unique characteristic, unnaturalness, unusual characteristic

ABERRANT, adjective abnormal, amorphous, anomalistic, anomalous, astray, changeable, departing, deviative, devious, discursive, disordered, divergent, eccentric, errant, erratic, erroneous, excursive, indirect, irregular, nonuniform, rambling, stray, straying, unnatural, unpredictable, untrue, variable, wandering

ABERRATION (Abnormality), noun alienation, declension, deflection, departure, derailment, deviation, digression, discrepancy, dislocation, disorientation, displacement, divergence, divergency, diversion, irregularity, lapse, misdirection, refraction, wandering, wrong course

ABERRATION (Insanity), noun abnormality, amentia, delirium, delusion, dementedness, derangement, disordered intellect, frenzy, hallucination, loss of reason, lunacy, madness, mental derangement, mental incapacity, mental infirmities, mental instability, mental sickness, paranoia, unsound mind, want of reason

ABET, verb adiuvare, advance, advocate, afford aid, aid, arouse, assist, back, contribute, cooperate with, embolden, encourage, endorse, facilitate, foment, foster, furnish aid, goad, help, incite, instigate, nourish, nurture, prompt, second, serve, spur, stimulate, succor, supply aid, support, urge

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: accessory, accomplice, aid and abet, coconspirator, facilitation

ABETMENT, noun advocacy, aegis, aid, auspices, backup, collusion, contribution, cooperation, countenance, encouragement, favor, fosterage, guidance, helpfulness, interest, patronage, plying, pressing, sponsorship, urging

ABETTING, adjective ancillary, coaxing, concerted, conducing, encouraging, expediting, facilitating, fostering, indorsing, inspiring, promoting, prompting, urging

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: accessory after the fact, accessory before the fact, accomplice and accessories, aiding and abetting, principals

ABETTOR, noun accessory, accomplice, accomplice in crime, actuator, adjutant, advocate, aide, aider, assistant, associate, auxiliary, backer, coadjutor, collaborator, confederate, conspirator, cooperator, encourager, exponent, favorer, fomentor, helper, henchman, impeller, inducer, inspirer, instigator, mainstay, maintainer, motivator, particeps criminis, patron, promoter, prompter, protagonist, second, support, supporter, sustainer, upholder

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: aiding and abetting, conspiracy, renunciation

ABEYANCE, noun arrest, cessation, check, deadlock, delay, desistance, discontinuance, discontinuation, dormancy, halt, immobility, in dubio esse, inaction, inactivity, inertion, inertness, interim, interlude, intermission, inter-mitti, interregnum, interruption, interval, lapse, quiescency, recess, recumbency, rem integram relinquere, repose, reprieve, respite, rest, stalemate, stay, stillness, stoppage, suspension

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: contingency, escrow, fee held in abeyance, held in abeyance, in expectation

ABHOR, verb abominate, be appalled by, be repelled by, censure, condemn, consider abhorrent, consider distasteful, contempt, damn, decry, denounce, deplore, deprecate, despise, detest, disdain, disparage, execrate, find heinous, find horrendous, find odious, find offensive, hate, loathe, reprehend, reprobate

ABHORRENT, adjective abominable, appalling, awful, contemptible, despicable, detestable, disgusting, distasteful, heinous, horrendous, indictable, loathsome, obnoxious, obscene, odious, offensive, repellent, reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, terrible, vile, wretched

ABIDE, verb accept, acknowledge, acquiesce, adhere, agree, assent, carry into execution, comply, concur, conform, cooperate, endure, execute, follow, heed, obey, observe, perform, permit, respect, sanction, stare, submit, subscribe to, suffer, tolerate, yield

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abiding conviction

ABIDING, adjective changeless, constant, continuing, durable, enduring, eternal, everlasting, fixed, immutable, inherent, lasting, long-lasting, longlived, long standing, of long duration or standing, perennial, permanent, persistent, persisting, remaining, stable, staying, steadfast, sustained, unaltered, unchanged, unchanging, unshifting, unvaried, unvarying

ABILITY, noun ableness, adaptability, adeptness, adequacy, aptitude, aptness, capability, capacity, competence, competency, enablement, facultas, faculty, fitness, fittedness, ingenium, mastership, mastery, potentiality, potestas, proficiency, prowess, skill, versatility, vires

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: ability to contract, ability to earn, ability to pay, ability to perform, ability to provide, ability to purchase, ability to support, capacity, financial ability, readiness, testamentary ability

ABJECT, adjective base, boorish, common, contemptible, corrupt, cowardly, craven, debased, degenerate, degraded, depraved, despicable, discreditable, dishonest, dishonorable, disreputable, ignoble, ignominious, inferior, inglorious, mean, penitent, plebeian, repentant, reproachful, scandalous, scurrilous, servile, sordid, wretched

ABJECTION, noun abasement, baseness, debasement, decadence, degeneracy, degradation, demoralization, dishonor, disrepute, humiliation, ignominy, meanness, servility, vileness

ABJECTNESS, noun abominableness, baseness, contemptibleness, degradation, despicableness, meanness, obsequiousness, odiousness, pettiness, shabbiness, shoddiness, smallness, sordidness, submissiveness, vileness, worthlessness, wretchedness

ABJUDGE, verb adjudicate, appraise, arbitrate, ascertain, assess, award, conclude, consider, decide, declare, decree, deduce, deem, derive, determine, discern, draw a conclusion, examine, find, hold, interpret, judge, prescribe, pronounce formally, rule

ABJURATION, verb abandonment, defection, denial, disaffirmation, disallowance, disavowal, disclaimer, disclamation, disownment, forswearing, recall, recantation, rejection, renouncement, renunciation, repudiation, retraction, revocation, revokement

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS: abjuration of allegiance, law of sanctuary, oath of abjuration

ABJURE, verb abandon, abrogate, deny, disaffirm, disavow, discard, disclaim, disown, exclude, forgo, forswear, give up, recant, refuse to admit, reject, relinquish, renounce, repudiate, resign, retract, revoke, surrender, yield

ABLE, adjective accomplished, adept, adequate, adroit, apt, bright, clever, competent, deft, dexterous, dynamic, effective, effectual, efficacious, efficient, equal to, experienced, expert, facile, fit, fitted, forward, handy, ingenious, intelligent, inventive, learned, practical, practiced, proficient, qualified, quick, resourceful, sagacious, shrewd, skillful, strong, talented, versed, viable, worthy

ABLENESS, noun ability, adequacy, caliber, capability, capacity, competence, efficacy, efficiency, faculty, lucidity, normalcy, normality, normalness, proficiency, quality, rationality, reason, reasonability, saneness, sound mind, soundness of mind, sufficiency

ABNEGATE, verb abjure, contravene, decline, deny, disavow, disclaim, disown, drop, forbear, gainsay, let go, negate, quit one's hold, rebuff, recall, refuse, refute, reject, relinquish, renounce, repudiate, repulse, retract, say no, spurn, surrender, unclench

ABNEGATION, noun abandonment, abjuration, declination, denial, disallowance, disavowal, disclaimer, forbearance, moderation, negation, nonacceptance, noncompliance, nonconsent, refusal, rejection, renouncement, renunciation, surrender, temperance, unwillingness

Excerpted from BURTON'S LEGAL THESAURUS by William C. Burton. Copyright © 2013 William C. Burton. Excerpted by permission of McGraw-Hill Education.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

William C. Burton is the creator of The Legal Thesaurus, which was recognized by the Association of American Publishers as one of the most innovative projects of the year at its 1980 debut. He is a partner in the nationally recognized law firm of D'Amato and Lynch, New York, New York. He has served as a New York State Assistant Attorney General and as Assistant to the New York Special Prosecutor. Burton is the creator of the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement, which he has instituted in Washington D.C. in cooperation with the Vice President's office. Through the awards program, Mr. Burton hopes to continue to encourage the refinement and enrichment of legal writing.

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