Imperfect

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IMPERFECT. That which is incomplete.
     2. This term is applied to rights and obligations. A man has a right to be relieved by his fellow-creatures, when in distress; but this right he cannot enforce by law; hence it is called an imperfect right. On the other hand, we are bound to be grateful for favors received, but we cannot be compelled to perform such imperfect obligations. Vide Poth. Ob. arc. Preliminaire; Vattel, Dr. des Gens, Prel. notes, Sec. 17; and Obligations.

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