barratry

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Early 15th century, in sense “sale of offices”, from Old French baraterie (deceit, trickery), from barat (fraud, deceit, trickery), of unknown origin, perhaps Celtic.[1] In marine sense of “unlawful acts causing loss to owner”, 1620s.[1].

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

barratry (countable and uncountable, plural barratries)

  1. The act of persistently instigating lawsuits, often groundless ones.
    • 1959, Walt Kelly, Pogo, April 24 comic strip (→ISBN, p. 35):
      [Deacon Mushrat to Pogo:] The Machiavellian barratry of a pettifogging public has maundered into do-nothingism.
  2. The sale or purchase of religious or political positions of power.
    Coordinate term: simony
  3. (admiralty law) Unlawful or fraudulent acts by the crew of a vessel, harming the vessel's owner.

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References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “barratry”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.