The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Compurgation \Com`pur*ga"tion\, n. [L. compurgatio, fr.
compurgare to purify wholly; com- + purgare to make pure. See
Purge, v. t.]
1. (Law) The act or practice of justifying or confirming a
man's veracity by the oath of others; -- called also
wager of law. See Purgation; also Wager of law,
2. Exculpation by testimony to one's veracity or innocence.
He was privileged from his childhood from suspicion
of incontinency and needed no compurgation. --Bp.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Law \Law\ (l[add]), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root
of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. l["o]g, Sw. lag, Dan. lov;
cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or
fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See
Lie to be prostrate.]
1. In general, a rule of being or of conduct, established by
an authority able to enforce its will; a controlling
regulation; the mode or order according to which an agent
or a power acts.
Note: A law may be universal or particular, written or
unwritten, published or secret. From the nature of the
highest laws a degree of permanency or stability is
always implied; but the power which makes a law, or a
superior power, may annul or change it.
These are the statutes and judgments and laws,
which the Lord made. --Lev. xxvi.
The law of thy God, and the law of the King.
As if they would confine the Interminable . . .
Who made our laws to bind us, not himself.
His mind his kingdom, and his will his law.
2. In morals: The will of God as the rule for the disposition
and conduct of all responsible beings toward him and
toward each other; a rule of living, conformable to
righteousness; the rule of action as obligatory on the
conscience or moral nature.
3. The Jewish or Mosaic code, and that part of Scripture
where it is written, in distinction from the gospel;
hence, also, the Old Testament. Specifically: the first
five books of the bible, called also Torah, Pentatech,
or Law of Moses.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
What things soever the law saith, it saith to them
who are under the law . . . But now the
righteousness of God without the law is manifested,
being witnessed by the law and the prophets. --Rom.
iii. 19, 21.
4. In human government:
(a) An organic rule, as a constitution or charter,
establishing and defining the conditions of the
existence of a state or other organized community.
(b) Any edict, decree, order, ordinance, statute,
resolution, judicial, decision, usage, etc., or
recognized, and enforced, by the controlling
5. In philosophy and physics: A rule of being, operation, or
change, so certain and constant that it is conceived of as
imposed by the will of God or by some controlling
authority; as, the law of gravitation; the laws of motion;
the law heredity; the laws of thought; the laws of cause
and effect; law of self-preservation.
6. In mathematics: The rule according to which anything, as
the change of value of a variable, or the value of the
terms of a series, proceeds; mode or order of sequence.
7. In arts, works, games, etc.: The rules of construction, or
of procedure, conforming to the conditions of success; a
principle, maxim; or usage; as, the laws of poetry, of
architecture, of courtesy, or of whist.
8. Collectively, the whole body of rules relating to one
subject, or emanating from one source; -- including
usually the writings pertaining to them, and judicial
proceedings under them; as, divine law; English law; Roman
law; the law of real property; insurance law.
9. Legal science; jurisprudence; the principles of equity;
Reason is the life of the law; nay, the common law
itself is nothing else but reason. --Coke.
Law is beneficence acting by rule. --Burke.
And sovereign Law, that state's collected will
O'er thrones and globes elate,
Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill. --Sir
10. Trial by the laws of the land; judicial remedy;
litigation; as, to go law.
When every case in law is right. --Shak.
He found law dear and left it cheap. --Brougham.
11. An oath, as in the presence of a court. [Obs.] See Wager
of law, under Wager.
Avogadro's law (Chem.), a fundamental conception, according
to which, under similar conditions of temperature and
pressure, all gases and vapors contain in the same volume
the same number of ultimate molecules; -- so named after
Avogadro, an Italian scientist. Sometimes called
Bode's law (Astron.), an approximative empirical expression
of the distances of the planets from the sun, as follows:
-- Mer. Ven. Earth. Mars. Aste. Jup. Sat. Uran. Nep. 4 4 4
4 4 4 4 4 4 0 3 6 12 24 48 96 192 384 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
--- --- 4 7 10 16 28 52 100 196 388 5.9 7.3 10 15.2 27.4
52 95.4 192 300 where each distance (line third) is the
sum of 4 and a multiple of 3 by the series 0, 1, 2, 4, 8,
etc., the true distances being given in the lower line.
Boyle's law (Physics), an expression of the fact, that when
an elastic fluid is subjected to compression, and kept at
a constant temperature, the product of the pressure and
volume is a constant quantity, i. e., the volume is
inversely proportioned to the pressure; -- known also as
Mariotte's law, and the law of Boyle and Mariotte.
Brehon laws. See under Brehon.
Canon law, the body of ecclesiastical law adopted in the
Christian Church, certain portions of which (for example,
the law of marriage as existing before the Council of
Tent) were brought to America by the English colonists as
part of the common law of the land. --Wharton.
Civil law, a term used by writers to designate Roman law,
with modifications thereof which have been made in the
different countries into which that law has been
introduced. The civil law, instead of the common law,
prevails in the State of Louisiana. --Wharton.
Commercial law. See Law merchant (below).
Common law. See under Common.
Criminal law, that branch of jurisprudence which relates to
Ecclesiastical law. See under Ecclesiastical.
Grimm's law (Philol.), a statement (propounded by the
German philologist Jacob Grimm) of certain regular changes
which the primitive Indo-European mute consonants,
so-called (most plainly seen in Sanskrit and, with some
changes, in Greek and Latin), have undergone in the
Teutonic languages. Examples: Skr. bh[=a]t[.r], L. frater,
E. brother, G. bruder; L. tres, E. three, G. drei, Skr.
go, E. cow, G. kuh; Skr. dh[=a] to put, Gr. ti-qe`-nai, E.
do, OHG, tuon, G. thun. See also lautverschiebung.
Kepler's laws (Astron.), three important laws or
expressions of the order of the planetary motions,
discovered by John Kepler. They are these: (1) The orbit
of a planet with respect to the sun is an ellipse, the sun
being in one of the foci. (2) The areas swept over by a
vector drawn from the sun to a planet are proportioned to
the times of describing them. (3) The squares of the times
of revolution of two planets are in the ratio of the cubes
of their mean distances.
Law binding, a plain style of leather binding, used for law
books; -- called also law calf.
Law book, a book containing, or treating of, laws.
Law calf. See Law binding (above).
(a) Formerly, a day of holding court, esp. a court-leet.
(b) The day named in a mortgage for the payment of the
money to secure which it was given. [U. S.]
Law French, the dialect of Norman, which was used in
judicial proceedings and law books in England from the
days of William the Conqueror to the thirty-sixth year of
Law language, the language used in legal writings and
Law Latin. See under Latin.
Law lords, peers in the British Parliament who have held
high judicial office, or have been noted in the legal
Law merchant, or Commercial law, a system of rules by
which trade and commerce are regulated; -- deduced from
the custom of merchants, and regulated by judicial
decisions, as also by enactments of legislatures.
Law of Charles (Physics), the law that the volume of a
given mass of gas increases or decreases, by a definite
fraction of its value for a given rise or fall of
temperature; -- sometimes less correctly styled Gay
Lussac's law, or Dalton's law.
Law of nations. See International law, under
Law of nature.
(a) A broad generalization expressive of the constant
action, or effect, of natural conditions; as, death
is a law of nature; self-defense is a law of nature.
See Law, 4.
(b) A term denoting the standard, or system, of morality
deducible from a study of the nature and natural
relations of human beings independent of supernatural
revelation or of municipal and social usages.
Law of the land, due process of law; the general law of the
Laws of honor. See under Honor.
Laws of motion (Physics), three laws defined by Sir Isaac
Newton: (1) Every body perseveres in its state of rest or
of moving uniformly in a straight line, except so far as
it is made to change that state by external force. (2)
Change of motion is proportional to the impressed force,
and takes place in the direction in which the force is
impressed. (3) Reaction is always equal and opposite to
action, that is to say, the actions of two bodies upon
each other are always equal and in opposite directions.
Marine law, or Maritime law, the law of the sea; a branch
of the law merchant relating to the affairs of the sea,
such as seamen, ships, shipping, navigation, and the like.
Mariotte's law. See Boyle's law (above).
Martial law.See under Martial.
Military law, a branch of the general municipal law,
consisting of rules ordained for the government of the
military force of a state in peace and war, and
administered in courts martial. --Kent. --Warren's
Moral law, the law of duty as regards what is right and
wrong in the sight of God; specifically, the ten
commandments given by Moses. See Law, 2.
Mosaic law, or Ceremonial law. (Script.) See Law, 3.
Municipal law, or Positive law, a rule prescribed by the
supreme power of a state, declaring some right, enforcing
some duty, or prohibiting some act; -- distinguished from
international law and constitutional law. See Law,
Periodic law. (Chem.) See under Periodic.
Roman law, the system of principles and laws found in the
codes and treatises of the lawmakers and jurists of
ancient Rome, and incorporated more or less into the laws
of the several European countries and colonies founded by
them. See Civil law (above).
Statute law, the law as stated in statutes or positive
enactments of the legislative body.
Sumptuary law. See under Sumptuary.
To go to law, to seek a settlement of any matter by
bringing it before the courts of law; to sue or prosecute
To take the law of, or To have the law of, to bring the
law to bear upon; as, to take the law of one's neighbor.
Wager of law. See under Wager.
Syn: Justice; equity.
Usage: Law, Statute, Common law, Regulation, Edict,
Decree. Law is generic, and, when used with
reference to, or in connection with, the other words
here considered, denotes whatever is commanded by one
who has a right to require obedience. A statute is a
particular law drawn out in form, and distinctly
enacted and proclaimed. Common law is a rule of action
founded on long usage and the decisions of courts of
justice. A regulation is a limited and often,
temporary law, intended to secure some particular end
or object. An edict is a command or law issued by a
sovereign, and is peculiar to a despotic government. A
decree is a permanent order either of a court or of
the executive government. See Justice.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
wager \wa"ger\ (w[=a]"j[~e]r), n. [OE. wager, wajour, OF.
wagiere, or wageure, F. gageure. See Wage, v. t.]
1. Something deposited, laid, or hazarded on the event of a
contest or an unsettled question; a bet; a stake; a
Besides these plates for horse races, the wagers may
be as the persons please. --Sir W.
If any atheist can stake his soul for a wager
against such an inexhaustible disproportion, let him
never hereafter accuse others of credulity.
2. (Law) A contract by which two parties or more agree that a
certain sum of money, or other thing, shall be paid or
delivered to one of them, on the happening or not
happening of an uncertain event. --Bouvier.
Note: At common law a wager is considered as a legal contract
which the courts must enforce unless it be on a subject
contrary to public policy, or immoral, or tending to
the detriment of the public, or affecting the interest,
feelings, or character of a third person. In many of
the United States an action can not be sustained upon
any wager or bet. --Chitty. --Bouvier.
3. That on which bets are laid; the subject of a bet.
Wager of battel, or Wager of battle (O. Eng. Law), the
giving of gage, or pledge, for trying a cause by single
combat, formerly allowed in military, criminal, and civil
causes. In writs of right, where the trial was by
champions, the tenant produced his champion, who, by
throwing down his glove as a gage, thus waged, or
stipulated, battle with the champion of the demandant,
who, by taking up the glove, accepted the challenge. The
wager of battel, which has been long in disuse, was
abolished in England in 1819, by a statute passed in
consequence of a defendant's having waged his battle in a
case which arose about that period. See Battel.
Wager of law (Law), the giving of gage, or sureties, by a
defendant in an action of debt, that at a certain day
assigned he would take a law, or oath, in open court, that
he did not owe the debt, and at the same time bring with
him eleven neighbors (called compurgators), who should
avow upon their oaths that they believed in their
consciences that he spoke the truth.
Wager policy. (Insurance Law) See under Policy.
Wagering contract or gambling contract. A contract which
is of the nature of wager. Contracts of this nature
include various common forms of valid commercial
contracts, as contracts of insurance, contracts dealing in
futures, options, etc. Other wagering contracts and bets
are now generally made illegal by statute against betting
and gambling, and wagering has in many cases been made a
criminal offence. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
WAGER OF LAW, Eng. law. When an action of debt is brought against a man upon
a simple contract, and the defendant pleads nil debit, and concludes his
plea with this formula, "And this he is ready to defend against him the said
A B and his suit, as the court of our lord the king here shall consider,"
&c., he is said to wage his law. He is then required to swear he owes the
plaintiff nothing, and bring eleven compurgators who will swear they believe
him. This mode of trial, is trial by wager of law.
2. The wager of law could only be had in actions of debt on simple
contract, and actions of detinue; in consequence of this right of the
defendant, now actions on simple contracts are brought in assumpsit, and
instead of bridging detinue, trover has been substituted.
3. If ever wager of law had any existence in the United States, it is
now completely abolished. 8 Wheat. 642. Vide Steph. on Plead. 124, 250, and
notes, xxxix.; Co. Entr. 119; Mod. Entr. 179; Lilly's Entr. 467; 3 Ch it.
Pl. 497; 13 Vin. Ab. 58; Bac. Ab. h.t.; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t. For the
origin of this form of trial, vide Steph. on Pl. notes xxxix; Co. Litt. 294,
5 3 Bl. Com. 341.