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In Common-Law Pleading or Code Pleading, the initial statements made by a plaintiff that set forth a Cause of Action to commence a civil lawsuit; the different points of a plaintiff's declaration, each of which constitute a basis for relief. In Criminal Procedure, one of several parts or charges of an indictment, each accusing the defendant of a different offense.

The term count has been replaced by the word complaint in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and many state codes of civil procedure. Sometimes count is used to denote the numbered paragraphs of a complaint, each of which sets out an essential element of the claim.

Federal and state rules of criminal procedure govern the standards that a criminal count must satisfy in federal and state criminal matters.


n. each separate statement in a complaint which states a cause of action which, standing alone, would give rise to a lawsuit), or each separate charge in a criminal action. For example, the complaint in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit might state: First Count (or cause of action) for negligence, and then state the detailed allegations; Second Count for breach of contract, Third Count for debt, and so forth. In a criminal case each count would be a statement of a different alleged crime. There are also so-called common counts which cover various types of debt. (See: common counts)


noun accusation, allegation, assertion, case for the prosecution, charge, citation, claim, comes, condemnation, countercharge, crimination, delation, denunciation, distinct statement, imputation, inculpation, indictment, item, item in the indictment, main charge, particular charge, statement of a cause of action
Associated concepts: count in an accusatory instrument, ommibus count
See also: accusation, amount, appraise, assess, calculate, canvass, census, charge, complaint, computation, enumerate, item, itemize, poll, quantity, sum, surmise, survey


a paragraph in an indictment containing a distinct and separate charge.

COUNT, pleading. This word, derived from the French conte, a narrative, is in our old law books used synonymously with declaration but practice has introduced the following distinction: when the plaintiff's complaint embraces only a single cause of action, and he makes only one statement of it, that statement is called, indifferently, a declaration or count; though the former is the more usual term.
    2. But when the suit embraces two or more causes of action, (each of which of course requires a different statement;) or when the plaintiff makes two or more different statements of one and the same cause of action, each several statement is called a count, and all of them, collectively, constitute the declaration.
    3. In all cases, however, in which there are two or more counts, whether there is actually but one cause of action or several, each count purports, upon the face of it, to disclose a distinct right of action, unconnected with that stated in any of the other counts.
    4. One object proposed, in inserting two or more counts in one declaration, when there is in fact but one cause of action, is, in some cases, to guard against the danger of an insufficient statement of the cause, where a doubt exists as to the legal sufficiency of one or another of two different modes of declaring; but the more usual end proposed in inserting more than one count in such case, is to accommodate the statement to the cause, as far as may be, to the possible state of the proof to be exhibited on trial; or to guard, if possible, against the hazard of the proofs varying materially from the statement of the cause of action; so that if one or more or several counts be not adapted to the evidence, some other of them may be so. Gould on Pl. c. 4, s. 2, 3, 4; Steph. Pl. 279; Doct. Pl. 1 78; 8 Com. Dig. 291; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t. In real actions, the declaration is most usually called a count. Steph. Pl. 36, See Common count; Money count.

References in periodicals archive ?
I lost count of signposts covered with overhanging trees, untrimmed hedges and blocked by other signs advertising products or services.
But, since it has started getting dark earlier, I've lost count of the cyclists I've (barely) seen pedalling along on busy roads, dressed in black, without even a reflector on the back.
On one day alone, the architecture student collapsed some 40 times before she lost count.
It is backed up by a record availability of accredited product, and a spokeswoman admitted there were now so many lines bearing the label they had lost count.
Davey: Between tailbone and ribs, I kind of lost count but I've been in steady pain for maybe three years.
Elizabeth Padilla has lost count of how many times she's taken the high school exit exam, but she knows well the number of chances she has left to be able to graduate in June alongside her friends: One.
I lost count of the number of former seafarers in the congregation who commented unfavorably on the updated version in Common Praise.
Anyone who has lived here as long as I have--I lost count somewhere in the second decade--has inevitably taken a trip to a Japanese hospital.
I've lost count of the number of times I heard people say, `I want to knock her block off'.
That's all very well but as a visitor to several hospitals, I've lost count of the times I've seen trays of food chucked on to bedside tables, out of reach of patients, and then whisked away with an: 'Oh dear.
The boy said he lost count of the number of times they had sexual intercourse after they reached double figures and said he was sworn to secrecy by Edmonds.
A 46-year-old triathlete who abstains from alcohol, tobacco, Coca-Cola, and candy bars as well as illegal intoxicants, Johnson declared drugs "a handicap" so many times that I lost count.