noscitur a sociis

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Latin "It is known from its associates."

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

noscitur a sociis

  1. (law) A rule of language used by the courts to help interpret legislation, under which the questionable meaning of a doubtful word can be derived from its association with other words.
    Foster v Diphwys Casson (1887) 18 QBD 428, involved a statute which stated that explosives taken into a mine must be in a "case or canister". Here the defendant used a cloth bag. The courts had to consider whether a cloth bag was within the definition. Under noscitur a sociis, it was held that the bag could not have been within the statutory definition, because parliament's intention was referring to a case or container of the same strength as a canister.

Coordinate terms[edit]