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HIGH. This word has various significations: 1. Principal or chief, as high constable, high sheriff. 2. Prominent, in a bad sense, as high treason. 3. Open, not confined, as high seas.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
The power to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations, belongs with equal propriety to the general government, and is a still greater improvement on the articles of Confederation.
Yet Rattray's visit left its own mark on my mind; and long after he was gone I lay puzzling over the connection between a young Lancastrian, of good name, of ancient property, of great personal charm, and a crime of unparalleled atrocity committed in cold blood on the high seas. That his complicity was flagrant I had no room to doubt, after Eva's own indictment of him, uttered to his face and in my hearing.
But you must understand that, in pursuing you over the high seas of the Pacific, the Abraham Lincoln believed itself to be chasing some powerful sea-monster, of which it was necessary to rid the ocean at any price."
This, at such an hour of the night, surprised me greatly; but I was too ignorant to draw the true conclusion -- that we were going north-about round Scotland, and were now on the high sea between the Orkney and Shetland Islands, having avoided the dangerous currents of the Pentland Firth.
So, speeding homeward from that traitor, he made ready his boat, and with his wife and three sons and two daughters and Havelok, they set sail upon the high sea, fleeing for their lives.
In the morning I would gather some provisions in the dingey, and after setting fire to the pyre before me, push out into the desolation of the high sea once more.
"Mutiny on the high sea may have been common a hundred years ago, but in this good year 1888 it is the least likely of happenings.
(22) The draft proposed a wrongful death remedy for the high seas, Great Lakes or any navigable waters of the United States.
Summary: New Delhi, January 2, (ANI) The government on Wednesday said not have any specific input about any terrorist group planning a 26/11 type attack in the port, cargo or oil tankers in the high seas with better sea strike capabilities and deep diving training technique.
Based on papers presented at an international conference of the same name, held in April 2017 in Singapore, the eight essays in this book consider gaps and challenges in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas legal regime and the protection and preservation of the marine environments of the high seas. Legal scholars from Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the US focus on using current legal mechanisms to address gaps, as well as the possibility of developing new protocols or agreements under existing legal instruments, including the prospective International Legally Binding Instrument.
Agreement requires flag states to regulate transhipment on the high seas