nolle prosequi

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From Latin nolle (unwilling) + prosequi (to pursue); compare to prosecute.


nolle prosequi (plural nolle prosequis or nolle prosequies)

  1. (law) A declaration by the prosecutor that a civil or criminal prosecution will not proceed.
  2. (figuratively) A refusal, a denial, a rejection.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter XVI and XIX:
      [...] where the ordinary man would have met the suggestion they had made with a firm nolle prosequi, I was barred from doing this by the code of the Woosters, which, as is pretty generally known, renders it impossible for me to let a pal down. [...] “I do wish you wouldn't always be so difficult, Bertie. Your aunt tells me it was just the same when you were a child. She'd want you to eat your cereal, and you would stick your ears back and be stubborn and non-co-operative, like Jonah's ass in the Bible.” I could not let this go uncorrected. It's pretty generally known that when at school I won a prize for Scripture Knowledge. “Balaam's ass. Jonah was the chap who had the whale. Jeeves!” “Sir?” “To settle a bet, wasn't it Balaam's ass that entered the nolle prosequi?” “Yes, sir.”


Related terms[edit]



nolle prosequi (third-person singular simple present nolle prosequis, present participle nolle prosequing, simple past and past participle nolle prosequied)

  1. (law, transitive, somewhat informal) To issue such an declaration about a particular (charge or case).