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Self-Help: Legal Dictionaries


Here are some examples of legal dictionaries that can be found for free online.

Findlaw Legal Dictionary Thomson Reuters
Search for a definition or browse legal glossaries.

Glossary United States Courts
Commonly used terms from the U.S. Courts. Legal Terms and Definitions ALM Media Properties, LLC
Search for the definition of a legal term or search the definitions for a specific term.

Nolo's Free Dictionary of Law Terms and Legal Definitions Nolo
Plain-English definitions for legal terms. Browse only.

Wex Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School 
Free legal dictionary and encyclopedia, collaboratively created and edited by legal experts. 

Legal Dictionaries At Jenkins

Black's Law Dictionary West/Thomson Reuters
Also available on the library's Westlaw computers.
Library also has previous editions going back to 1891. See a librarian for more information.

"Well-known enough that it is recognizable simply by the name of its long-deceased creator, Black's is the most widely used law dictionary in the United States today. . . . [I]t has become the predominant American law dictionary." Sarah Yates, Black's Law Dictionary: The Making of an American Standard, 103 Law Libr. J. 175, 175 (2011).

The following dictionaries are intended for users who may be unfamiliar with legal terms.

Dictionary of Legal Terms: A Simplified Guide to the Language of Law Barron's Educational Series
Library has 3rd (1998) edition.

A Handbook of Basic Law Terms West
Library has ©1999.

Law Dictionary for Nonlawyers West
Library has 4th (2000) edition.

Lay Words for Lawyers American Bar Association
Library has 2nd (2015) edition.

Real Life Dictionary of the Law: Taking the Mystery Out of Legal Language General Pub. Group
Library has ©1995, 1997.

These are some other popular legal dictionaries at Jenkins. Check our catalog or ask a librarian for other suggestions.

Ballentine's Law Dictionary, with Pronunciations Lawyers Co-operative Pub. Co.
Library has 3rd (1969) and 1948 editions.

Bouvier Law Dictionary Publisher varies
Library also has previous editions going back to 1839.

Dahl's Law Dictionary Hein

Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage Oxford University Press
Library has 3rd (2011) and 2nd (1995) editions.

A Handbook of Basic Law Terms West
Library has ©1999.

Law Dictionary Barron's
Library has 4th (1996) edition.

Mellinkoff's Dictionary of American Legal Usage West
Library has ©1992.

Modern Dictionary for the Legal Profession Hein
Library has 5th (2021) edition.

Random House Webster's Dictionary of the Law Random House
Library has 1st Random House (2000) edition.

Legal Thesauri at Jenkins

A legal thesaurus will provide synonyms (words with the same meanings) and antonyms (words with opposite meanings) to legal terms, but may not provide definitions.

Advocacy Words: A Thesaurus ABA
Library has Expanded 3rd (2013)Expanded 2nd (2010), and 2005 editions.

Burton's Legal Thesaurus Macmillan
Library has 3rd (1998)2nd (1992), and 1980 editions.
The 6th edition is also available on the library's Lexis computers.

West's Legal Thesaurus/Dictionary: A Resource for the Writer and the Computer Researcher West
Library has ©1985.