Word of the Day – Jurisprudence

Word of the Day : March 23, 2021


noun joor-us-PROO-dunss


1 : the science or philosophy of law

2 a : a system or body of law

b : the course of court decisions as distinguished from legislation and doctrine

3 : a department of law

Did you know?

“For a farewell to our jurisprudent, I wish unto him the gladsome light of jurisprudence….” With this valedictory to English jurist Sir Thomas Littleton, another jurist, Sir Edward Coke, welcomed two new words into English. In 1628, his jurisprudence meant “knowledge of or skill in law,” a now archaic sense that reflects the meaning of the word’s root. Jurisprudence goes back to Latin prudentia juris (literally “skill in law”), from which was derived the Late Latin formation jurisprudentia, and subsequently the English word. The noun jurisprudent means “one skilled in law”—in other words, a jurist. There’s also jurisprude, a somewhat rare 20th-century back-formation created from jurisprudence with influence from prude. It means “one who makes ostentatious show of jurisprudential learning.”


A basic premise of American jurisprudence is that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

“There is a long-standing tradition in First Amendment jurisprudence that courts should not impose ‘prior restraints’ on speech.” — Jack Greiner, The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer, 24 Nov. 2020