Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

6 Words To Curl Your Legal Hair

North Carolina LawyerAre you sick and tired of the words “totally,” “hater,” “impacted” and “brangelina?”

If so, you’re not alone. Those were some of the terrible terms targeted for termination in a recent magazine poll.

The New Yorker asked its readers to nominate a single word to be eliminated from the English language. What followed was a flood of foul vowels and contemptible consonants.

Phlegm, fecund, awesome, epic, bling, swag, likely, irregardless, inflammable, trendy, stupid, comorbid, pretentious and efforting were all suggested for permanent exile.

With such cringe-worthy candidates available, it came as something of a surprise when the relatively mild “slacks” – as in trousers – was named Most Offensive.

What’s so bad about slacks? Sure, it invokes an image of polyester and senility. But how can you kill slacks and let “ointment,” “unguent” and “mucous” survive? Or “guilty,” “objection” and “subpoena?” Not to mention “at the end of the day.”

Which brings us back, as always, to the law.

Ours is a verbal profession. We exist on words, words and more words. Also “words of art,” “words of limitation,” “words of procreation,” “words of purchase” and “words actionable in themselves,” according to Black’s Law Dictionary.

Here, then are a half-dozen legal phrases best consigned to the rubbish pile:

  • Leguleius – a person skilled in the law.
  • Inhonestus – unseemly
  • Ullage – in commercial law, the amount due when a cask is found not to be completely full
  • Flumen – the right, under Roman law, to conduct the rainwater collected on one’s roof onto your neighbor’s property
  • Fustigatio – a beating with sticks or clubs
  • Snottering silver – A small duty paid by servile tenants

And another half-dozen we love to hear:

  • Thanks!
  • Continuance
  • Humor
  • Integrity
  • Cupcakes
  • Casual Friday

Are there legal phrases you are sick of hearing?  Leave them in the comments section below!

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About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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