Ejusdem generis

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ejusdem generis

(eh-youse-dem generous) adj. Latin for "of the same kind," used to interpret loosely written statutes. Where a law lists specific classes of persons or things and then refers to them in general, the general statements only apply to the same kind of persons or things specifically listed. Example: if a law refers to automobiles, trucks, tractors, motorcycles and other motor-powered vehicles, "vehicles" would not include airplanes, since the list was of land-based transportation.

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

EJUSDEM GENERIS. Of the same kind.
     2. In the construction of laws, wills and other instruments, when certain things are enumerated, and then a phrase is used which might be construed to include other things, it is generally confined to things ejusdem generas; as, where an act (9 Ann. C. 20) provided that a writ of quo warranto might issue against persons who should usurp "the offices of mayors, bailiffs, port reeves, and other offices, within the cities, towns, corporate boroughs, and places, within Great Britain," &c.; it was held that "other offices" meant offices ejusdem generis; and that the word "places" signified places of the same kind; that is, that the offices must be corporate offices, and the places must be corporate Places. 5 T. R. 375,379; 5 B. & C. 640; 8 D. & Ry. 393; 1 B. & C. 237.
     3. So, in the construction of wills, when certain articles are enumerated, the terra goods is to be restricted to those ejusdem generis. Bac. Ab. Legacies, B; 3 Rand. 191; 3 Atk. 61; Abr. Eq. 201; 2 Atk. 113.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Latinisms (such as "ambit," "de minimis," "eiusdem generis," "sub silentio"); legal cliches (such as "plain meaning," "strict scrutiny," "instant case," "totality of circumstances," "abuse of discretion," "facial adequacy," "facial challenge," "chilling effect," "canons of construction," "gravamen," and "implicates" in such expressions as "the statute implicates First Amendment concerns"); legal terms that have an ambulatory rather than a fixed meaning (such as "rational basis" and "proximate cause"); incurably vague "feel good" terms such as "justice" and "fairness"; pomposities such as "it is axiomatic that"; insincere verbal curtsies ("with all due respect," or "I respectfully dissent"); and gruesome juxtapositions (such as "Roe and its progeny," meaning Roe v.