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An expression, word, or phrase that has a fixed and known meaning in a particular art, science, or profession. A specified period of time.

The term of a court is the legally prescribed period for which it may be in session. Although the session of the court is the time that it actually sits, the words term and session are frequently used interchangeably.

In reference to a lease, a term is the period granted during which the lessee is entitled to occupy the rented premises. It does not include the period of time between the creation of the lease and the entry of the tenant. Similarly when used in reference to estates, the term is the period of time for which an estate is granted. An estate for five years, for example, is one with a five-year term.

A term of office is the time during which an official who has been appointed or elected may hold the office, perform its functions, and partake of its emoluments and privileges.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. 1) in contracts or leases, a period of time, such as five years, in which a contract or lease is in force. 2) in contracts, a specified condition or proviso. 3) a period for which a court sits or a legislature is in session. 4) a word or phrase for something, as "tenancy" is one term for "occupancy."

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

RULE, TERM, English practice. A term rule is in the nature of a day rule, by which a prisoner is enabled by the terms of one rule, instead of a daily rule, to quit the prison or its rules for the purpose of transacting his business. lt is obtained in the same manner as a day rule. See Rules.

TERM, construction. Word; expression speech.
     2. Terms or words are characters by which we announce our sentiments, and make known to others things with which we are acquainted. These must be properly construed or interpreted in order to understand the parties using them. Vide Construction; Interpretation; Word.

TERM, contracts. This word is used in the civil, law to denote the space of time granted to the debtor for discharging his obligation; there are express terms resulting from the positive stipulations of the agreement; as, where one undertakes to pay a certain sum on a certain day and also terms which tacitly result from the nature of the things which are the object of the engagement, or from the place where the act is agreed to be done. For instance, if a builder engage to construct a house for me, I must allow a reasonable time for fulfilling his engagement.
     2. A term is either of right or of grace; when it makes part of the agreement and is expressly or tacitly included in it, it is of right when it is not part of the agreement, it is of grace; as if it is not afterwards granted by the judge at the requisition of the debtor. Poth. on Oblig. P. 2, c. 3, art. 3; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 719 et seq.

TERM, estates. The limitation of an estate, as a term for years, for life, and the like. The word term does not merely signify the time specified in the lease, but the estate also and interest that passes by that lease; and therefore the term may expire during the continuance of the time, as by surrender, forfeiture and the like. 2 Bl. Com. 145; 8 Pick. R. 339.
     TERM, practice. The space of time during which a court holds a session; sometimes the term is a monthly, at others it is a quarterly period, according to the constitution of the court.
     2. The whole term is considered as but one day so that the judges may at any time during the term, revise their judgments. In the computation of the term all adjournments are to be included. 9 Watts, R. 200. Courts are presumed to know judicially when their terms are required to be held by public law. 4 Dev. R. 427. See, 1 generally, Peck, R. 82; 6 Yerg. R. 395; 7 Yerg. R. 365; 6 Rand. R. 704; 2 Cowen, R. 445; 1 Cowen, R. 58; 5 Binn. R. 389; 4 S. & R. 507 5 Mass. R. 195, 435.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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