AskDefine | Define dictum

Dictionary Definition

dictum

Noun

1 an authoritative declaration [syn: pronouncement, say-so]
2 an opinion voiced by a judge on a point of law not directly bearing on the case in question and therefore not binding [syn: obiter dictum] [also: dicta (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. An authoritative statement; a dogmatic saying; an apothegm.
    • 1949 - Bruce Kiskaddon, George R. Stewart, Earth Abides
      ...a dictum which he had heard an economics professor once propound...
  2. A judicial opinion expressed by judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case, and are not involved in it.
  3. The report of a judgment made by one of the judges who has given it.
  4. An arbitrament or award.

Extensive Definition

In common law legal terminology a dictum (plural dicta) is any statement that forms a part of the judgment of a court, in particular a court whose decisions have value as precedent under the doctrine of stare decisis.
Conceptually, dicta are divided into two types. Ratio decidendi are those which form a part of the reason for the decision, and are binding as precedent. Obiter dicta are those which are not binding, but are merely editorializing, or explanatory. The word dicta standing alone is often used as a synonym for obiter dicta, although this usage is not technically correct.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Parthian shot, a priori truth, action, adage, address, affirmance, affirmation, allegation, ana, analects, announcement, annunciation, answer, aphorism, apostrophe, apothegm, appointment, assertion, asseveration, averment, avouchment, avowal, award, axiom, brevet, brocard, bull, byword, canon, catchword, code, collected sayings, commandment, comment, conclusion, condemnation, consideration, convention, crack, creed, current saying, decision, declaration, decree, decree-law, decreement, decretal, decretum, deliverance, determination, diagnosis, dictate, diktat, distich, doom, edict, edictum, enunciation, epigram, exclamation, expression, fiat, finding, form, formula, general principle, gnome, golden rule, golden saying, greeting, guideline, guiding principle, imperative, interjection, ipse dixit, law, manifesto, maxim, mention, mitzvah, moral, mot, motto, norm, note, observation, oracle, order, ordinance, ordonnance, phrase, pithy saying, position, position paper, positive declaration, postulate, precedent, precept, predicate, predication, prescript, principium, principle, proclamation, profession, prognosis, pronouncement, pronunciamento, proposition, protest, protestation, proverb, proverbial saying, proverbs, question, reflection, regulation, remark, rescript, resolution, rubric, rule, ruling, saw, say, say-so, saying, self-evident truth, senatus consult, senatus consultum, sentence, sententious expression, settled principle, sloka, stance, stand, standard, statement, stock saying, subjoinder, sutra, teaching, tenet, text, theorem, thought, truism, truth, ukase, universal truth, utterance, verdict, verse, vouch, wisdom, wisdom literature, wise saying, witticism, word, words of wisdom, working principle, working rule
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