Today, we will start our series of articles about Black’s Law Dictionary. Do you use this invaluable resource in your professional activities?

Black’s Law Dictionary:

  • Author: Henry Campbell Black
  • First edition: released in 1891
  • Publishing company: West Publishing
  • The year 1990: the first mention of the Westlaw online legal search by the Centennial Edition.
  • The year 1999: Bryan A. Garner took over as editor-in-chief of the seventh edition and thoroughly updated the previous version.

Black’s Law Dictionary, authored by Henry Campbell Black, is widely used and held in high regard worldwide. Its origins can be traced back to the first edition, published in 1891. The dictionary, which was originally titled „A Dictionary of Law,” has gone through numerous revisions, the most recent being the eleventh edition released in 2019.

The dictionary has historical significance through its association with the prominent American lawyer and legal scholar Henry Campbell Black. The first edition, published by West Publishing, aimed to provide a comprehensive explanation of legal terminology and expressions used in British and American systems, as well as in international commercial and constitutional law. Following the triumphant worldwide success of the first edition, subsequent editions were published. After Black’s death in 1927, the 1910 edition was republished, yet under the title „A Law Dictionary.”

An aspect that set earlier editions apart was the inclusion of case citations in combination with definitions, which streamlined legal research. In keeping with the changing nature of legal research, the seventh edition, published in 1999, left out a significant number of citations due to the advent of the Internet. The eight edition introduced a novel system of continuously updated case citations, as well as cross-references to legal encyclopaedias.

Black’s Law Dictionary is renowned for its ability to adapt to the dynamic nature of legal terminology. The editors keep the dictionary current and relevant by balancing traditional elements with modern developments. Such adaptability is essential in a field where language evolves in response to technological, legislative, and social developments.

The dictionary covers a wide range of legal terms, from common law principles to all those specialist terms from different areas of law. It gives you a pronunciation guide for words with Latin roots and other pronunciation guidance by North American lawyers.

There’s more to Black’s Law Dictionary than meets the eye. It tells you everything you need to know about legal terms, from their Latin roots to their historical background. It also includes cross-references to similar ideas in this source, making it much easier to understand all the little details of legal language.

Black’s Law Dictionary has become more than just a dictionary. It is now a legal encyclopaedia, including debates on fundamental legal ideas, biographies of important legal figures, as well as articles on key legal issues. This addition reflects the editors’ commitment to providing a broader understanding of the law than just specific phrases.

Also included in this dictionary are a list of abbreviations, legal maxims, the Constitution of the United States of America, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Timeline of the United States Supreme Court, the Federal Circuits map, and the British Regnal Years.

The dictionary has gained global recognition in legal systems for its wide acceptance, recognition, accuracy, and comprehensiveness. Black’s Law Dictionary is a widely recognised and trusted resource that legal professionals worldwide rely on for accurate legal definitions and explanations.

Black’s Law Dictionary is not just a collection of legal terms, but a living and evolving resource that accurately reflects the intricacies of the legal field. It is highly valued by the legal professionals for its rich historical heritage, ability to adapt, global impact, and wide scope, making it a fundamental pillar of legal research and application. Black’s Law Dictionary is essential for anyone who deals with legal terminology through printed or digital media.