obiter dictum

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From Latin obiter dictum (something said by the way).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌəʊbɪtə ˈdɪktəm/


obiter dictum (plural obiter dicta)

  1. An incidental remark; especially (law) a statement or remark in a court's judgment that is not essential to the disposition of the case. [from 18th c.]
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 128:
      Casual obiter dicta by men of accepted godliness belonged to a different category from the ecstatic claims to immediate revelation made by obscure persons who thrust themselves into the limelight […].
    • 2010, Lee, Jack Tsen-Ta, “The Text through Time”, in Statute Law Review[1]:
      However, McHugh J noted obiter dicta that if the meaning of the word was construed at that level of abstraction today, ‘it would deny the Parliament of the Commonwealth the power to legislate for same sex marriages []’.