Terms of Art

Comprehending laws and contracts is impossible, unless we first learn the meaning of the words and phrases they contain.

Moderator: notmartha

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Terms of Art

Post by notmartha »

From http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictiona ... erm+of+Art
Term of Art

A word or phrase that has special meaning in a particular context.

A term of art is a word or phrase that has a particular meaning. Terms of art abound in the law.
I'm starting this thread so that we may break the "code" of all the special meanings of words that can and will be used against us. As many minds makes light work, feel free to jump in and participate. :)

We now have word studies for over 150 terms. You may find them easier to navigate if you go towards the bottom left of the page, click on "Display and Sorting Options" (It looks like this: Image) and then where it says "Sort by," select "subject." This will put the terms in alphabetical order. :)
Display icon.JPG
Display icon.JPG (8.64 KiB) Viewed 8730 times
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Terms of Art

Post by notmartha »

From the Introduction of The Words of His Kingdom and the Words of the World Compared:
Words have a tremendous impact on us. Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or evil. The basic tool for the manipulation of truth is the manipulation of words. If one can control the meaning of words, one can control the people who use those words. Likewise, the basic tool for the preservation of truth is the preservation of God's words. If one understands the original meaning of God's words, we can more easily recognize those who try to manipulate and control others through deception and the altering of the original definitions of words.

Words have been re-defined. But upon closer examination, we find another astonishing truth. What has been done is that we have adopted the words of the world to describe us, instead of using the words of Christ to define us. Some claim that the words we speak aren’t that important. But if it’s not important, why does scripture prohibit "vain babblings" (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 2:16), "evil communications" (1 Corinthians 15:33), and "filthy communication out of your mouth" (Colossians 3:8)?

Proverbs 12:18, "...the tongue of the wise is health."

As in the health of the body, a doctor can often assess our state of health by looking at our tongues; so too in the spiritual realm. James tells us that the way a man uses his tongue is a test of his spiritual strength (James 1:26). He also says that if a man can control his tongue he is a perfect man (James 3:2). Jeremiah was told by the Lord that he could be God's mouthpiece only if he was careful about the way he used his tongue - if he separated the precious from the vile in his conversation (Jeremiah 15:19). Therefore, we should be very careful about the words that we choose to speak.

1 Corinthians 2:12-13, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

It is so very important, as the above passage states, to not speak the words that we have been conditioned to speak by the spirit of the world (by what man's wisdom has taught us); but to speak the words which the Holy Spirit has taught us (to speak in a spiritual manner). These words are contained in the Holy Scripture, which are for our "doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
Read more here: http://ecclesia.org/truth/words.html
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Terms of Art

Post by notmartha »

If you have read George Orwell’s 1984, you are familiar with “Newspeak.” If not, you can read the book online HERE and the Appendix pertaining to Newspeak HERE.

In his essay "Politics and the English Language" Orwell writes, "If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” Throughout 1984 Orwell showed how language can corrupt thought and that totalitarian systems use language to restrict, rather than broaden, ideas. For instance, if the word “freedom” did not exist, the concept of freedom could not exist.

From Cliffnotes:
In his Appendix, Orwell explains the syntactical arrangement and the etymology of the Newspeak. A living language, such as English, one that has the capability of diverse expression, has the tendency to gain words and therefore broaden the awareness and knowledge of its speakers. Newspeak, on the other hand, loses words, by removing words that represent opposing concepts. Therefore, for example, because the word "good" presumes the opposite of "bad," the word "bad" is unnecessary. Similarly, all degrees of "goodness" can be expressed simply by adding standard prefixes and suffixes to this one root word: ungood (bad) and plusgood (very good) and doubleplusgood (wonderful). In so doing, Newspeak not only eliminates "unnecessary" words, but it also promotes a narrowing of thought and, therefore, awareness. The idea behind Newspeak is that, as language must become less expressive, the mind is more easily controlled. Through his creation and explanation of Newspeak, Orwell warns the reader that a government that creates the language and mandates how it is used can control the minds of its citizens.
As you look at the alteration of the meanings of words, and the elimination of words, from Biblical through to modern times, you will see many examples of “newspeak.” Only unaware and willing minds can be controlled.
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Terms of Art

Post by notmartha »

In Impostor - Terms By Albert Jay Nock, published in Free Speech and Plain Language in 1938, Nock discusses Bentham's take on terms of art, which he called "impostor terms". From the article:
Bentham left an unfinished work, or rather the materials for one, on Fallacies; it is a mere set of notes. One section or chapter of this is devoted to a consideration of what he calls impostor-terms. He puts these in the general category of "fallacies of confusion," saying that their object is to perplex or confuse the hearer when discussion of their subject-matter can no longer be avoided. Thus, for example, it has long been a trick of politicians to speak of an opposing group or school as a faction, on account of the special implications of the word. Bentham's note on these fallacies, and particularly his note on the use of impostor-terms, should be carefully studied and prayerfully understood. If every American memorized Bentham's formulas and applied them steadily to the daily diet of impostor-terms with which the jargon of politics and journalism supplies him, it would do more to promote a revival of intellectual honesty than any other exercise that could be suggested.

In the first place, Bentham lays down the general rule that impostor-terms are applied "chiefly to the defense of things which under their proper name are manifestly indefensible; for example, persecutors have no such word as persecution, but zeal. It substitutes an object of approbation for an object of censure." Then he goes on to observe that in the employment of impostor-terms two things are required:

1. A fact or circumstance which, under its proper name and seen in its true colours, would be an object of censure, and which therefore it is necessary to disguise.

2. An appellative which the sophist employs to conceal what would be deemed offensive, or even to bespeak a degree of favour for it by the aid of some happier accessory.

To this may be added Bentham's further observation on terms which have a question-begging character. The object of their use, he says, is to cause, by means of the artifice, that to be taken for true which is not true. The proposition is not true and can not be proved, and the person by whom the fallacy is employed is conscious of its deceptive tendency.
Complete Article:
Impostor Terms by Albert Nock.pdf
(84.17 KiB) Downloaded 906 times
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Terms of Art

Post by notmartha »

What happens when the meanings of words are determined by the way they offend or insult someone? "Hate speech" laws, a term of art in and of itself, will bring new, special meanings to whatever words are deemed to offend.

From: They Want To Use "Hate Speech Laws" To Destroy Freedom Of Speech In America
Hate speech laws are going in all around the world, and progressive activists in the United States want to use these kinds of laws to destroy free speech in America. You see, the truth is that these hate speech laws that are being implemented all over the planet are not just about preventing speech that promotes violence or genocide against a particular group of people. Instead, these laws are written in such a way that anyone that says something that “offends” or “insults” someone else is guilty of “hate speech”. Even if you never intended to offend anyone and you had no idea that your words were insulting, in some countries you can be detained without bail and sentenced to years in prison for such speech. Today, there are highly restrictive hate speech laws in Canada, in Mexico and in virtually every single European nation. The United States is still an exception, but the truth is that our liberties and freedoms are being eroded every single day, and it is only a matter of time until “hate speech laws” are used to take away our freedom of speech too.

If you don’t think that this could ever happen in America, you should consider what the American Bar Association has to say on the matter. This is the national organization that represents all of our lawyers, judges, etc. So when the ABA speaks on legal matters, it carries a significant amount of weight. The following is how the American Bar Association defines “hate speech”…

Hate speech is speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits
Read the rest of the article HERE.
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Terms of Art Cost Extra

Post by notmartha »

Excerpt from THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS By Lewis Carroll, CHAPTER VI. Humpty Dumpty
'What a beautiful belt you've got on!' Alice suddenly remarked.

(They had had quite enough of the subject of age, she thought: and if they really were to take turns in choosing subjects, it was her turn now.) 'At least,' she corrected herself on second thoughts, 'a beautiful cravat, I should have said--no, a belt, I mean--I beg your pardon!' she added in dismay, for Humpty Dumpty looked thoroughly offended, and she began to wish she hadn't chosen that subject. 'If I only knew,' she thought to herself, 'which was neck and which was waist!'

Evidently Humpty Dumpty was very angry, though he said nothing for a minute or two. When he DID speak again, it was in a deep growl.

'It is a--MOST--PROVOKING--thing,' he said at last, 'when a person doesn't know a cravat from a belt!'

'I know it's very ignorant of me,' Alice said, in so humble a tone that Humpty Dumpty relented.

'It's a cravat, child, and a beautiful one, as you say. It's a present from the White King and Queen. There now!'

'Is it really?' said Alice, quite pleased to find that she HAD chosen a good subject, after all.

'They gave it me,' Humpty Dumpty continued thoughtfully, as he crossed one knee over the other and clasped his hands round it, 'they gave it me--for an un-birthday present.'

'I beg your pardon?' Alice said with a puzzled air.

'I'm not offended,' said Humpty Dumpty.

'I mean, what IS an un-birthday present?'

'A present given when it isn't your birthday, of course.'

Alice considered a little. 'I like birthday presents best,' she said at last.

'You don't know what you're talking about!' cried Humpty Dumpty. 'How many days are there in a year?'

'Three hundred and sixty-five,' said Alice.

'And how many birthdays have you?'


'And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-five, what remains?'

'Three hundred and sixty-four, of course.'

Humpty Dumpty looked doubtful. 'I'd rather see that done on paper,' he said.

Alice couldn't help smiling as she took out her memorandum-book, and worked the sum for him:



Humpty Dumpty took the book, and looked at it carefully. 'That seems to be done right--' he began.

'You're holding it upside down!' Alice interrupted.

'To be sure I was!' Humpty Dumpty said gaily, as she turned it round for him. 'I thought it looked a little queer. As I was saying, that SEEMS to be done right--though I haven't time to look it over thoroughly just now--and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents--'

'Certainly,' said Alice.

'And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

'I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't--till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.

'When _I_ use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master--that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them--particularly verbs, they're the proudest--adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs--however, _I_ can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what _I_ say!'

'Would you tell me, please,' said Alice 'what that means?'

'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

'That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'I always pay it extra.'

'Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.

'Ah, you should see 'em come round me of a Saturday night,' Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to side: 'for to get their wages, you know.'

(Alice didn't venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you see I can't tell YOU.)
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Terms of Art

Post by notmartha »


Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.:
"A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used."
"For my own part, I often doubt whether it would not be a gain if every word of moral significance could be banished from the law altogether, and other words adopted which should convey legal ideas uncolored by anything outside the law. We should lose the fossil records of a good deal of history and the majesty got from ethical associations, but by ridding ourselves of an unnecessary confusion we should gain very much in the clearness of our thought."
Judge Learned Hand, (1872-1961), Judge, U. S. Court of Appeals:
"Words are chameleons, which reflect the colour of their environment."
George Orwell:
Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Terms of Art

Post by notmartha »

Maxims of Law regarding Expressions and Words

• The meaning of words is the spirit of the law. [Romans 8:2]
• The propriety of words is the safety of property.
• It is immaterial whether a man gives his assent by words or by acts and deeds.
• It matters not whether a revocation be by words or by acts.
• What is expressed renders what is implied silent.
• An unequivocal statement prevails over an implication.
• In ambiguous expressions, the intention of the person using them is chiefly to be regarded.
• The expression of those things which are tacitly implied operates nothing.
• The expression of one thing is the exclusion of another.
• A general expression is to be construed generally.
• A general expression implies nothing certain.
• General words are understood in a general sense.
• When the words and the mind agree, there is no place for interpretation.
• Every interpretation either declares, extends or restrains.
• The best interpretation is made from things preceding and following; i.e., the context.
• Words are to be interpreted according to the subject-matter.
• He who considers merely the letter of an instrument goes but skin deep into its meaning.
• Frequently where the propriety of words is attended to, the meaning of truth is lost.
• Words are to be taken most strongly against him who uses them.
• Multiplicity and indistinctness produce confusion; and questions, the more simple they are, the more lucid.
• When two things repugnant to each other are found in a will, the last is to be confirmed.
• Bad or false grammar does not vitiate a deed or grant.
• Many things can be implied from a few expressions.
• Language is the exponent of the intention.
• Words are indicators of the mind or thought.
• Speech is the index of the mind. [James 1:26]
• Laws are imposed, not upon words, but upon things.
• From the words of the law there must be no departure.
• A hidden ambiguity of the words is supplied by the verification, for whatever ambiguity arises concerning the deed itself is removed by the verification of the deed.
• Coupling words together shows that they ought to be understood in the same sense.
• When the proofs of facts are present, what need is there of words.
• Facts are more powerful than words.
• In the agreements of the contracting parties, the rule is to regard the intention rather than the words.
• Those things which agree in substance though not in the same words, do not differ.
• What may be gathered from words of tantamount meaning, is of no consequence when omitted.
• The propriety of words is the safety of property.
• Words spoken to one end, ought not to be perverted to another.
• When there is no ambiguity in the words, then no exposition contrary to the words is to be made.
User avatar
Posts: 797
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

Re: Terms of Art

Post by notmartha »

Here is a well written thesis that anyone entering a "court" should read and understand.

LOOKING IT UP: The Supreme Court's Use of Dictionaries in Statutory and Constitutional Interpretation

(Thanks Mike for the link to this link)
Post Reply