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Find U.S. Legal Dictionaries

The use of dictionaries at the Supreme Court is increasingly popular for various reasons

Black’s Law Dictionary is the most frequently used U.S. legal dictionary. It is available in print and on Westlaw.

Other popular dictionaries include:

  • Ballentine’s Law Dictionary available in print and on LexisNexis. This dictionary contains over 40,000 definitions of legal terms “based on the actual construction of those terms by courts of last resort, with each case cited to the page on which the definition appears.”
  • Modern Dictionary for the Legal Profession in print.  In addition to explaining legal concepts like “lemon law,” it also includes references to colloquial phrases heard in practice.
  • Words and Phrases available in print and on Westlaw.  Contains all judicial constructions and definitions of words and phrases by the state and federal courts from the earliest times, alphabetically arranged and indexed.
  • The US Courts commonly used terms website.

Many print dictionaries are found behind the Reference Desk; ask a reference librarian for access.