verb (used with object), lit·i·gat·ed, lit·i·gat·ing.
verb (used without object), lit·i·gat·ed, lit·i·gat·ing.
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Origin of litigate
OTHER WORDS FROM litigatelit·i·ga·tive, adjectivere·lit·i·gate, verb (used with object), re·lit·i·gat·ed, re·lit·i·gat·ing.un·lit·i·gat·ed, adjectiveun·lit·i·gat·ing, adjective
Words nearby litigate
What does litigate mean?
To litigate is to engage in a legal proceeding, such as a lawsuit. It can mean to bring a lawsuit or to contest one.
The word especially refers to what lawyers do in such a proceeding. In fact, another name for a lawyer is litigator, especially a lawyer who specializes in civil cases. The related word litigant refers to a person engaged in a lawsuit.
The process of engaging in a legal proceeding is called litigation. To be in litigation typically means to be engaged in a civil legal proceeding (as opposed to a criminal one, in which one is said to be on trial).
Litigate can also be used in a somewhat figurative or general way meaning to intensely dispute or argue something, as if one were a lawyer in a courtroom setting, as in It’s just a minor issue—we don’t have to litigate it over and over again.
Example: They want to avoid having to litigate, so they’re going to try to get you to settle out of court.
Where does litigate come from?
The first records of the word litigate come from the early 1600s. It derives from the Latin verb lītigāre, meaning “to go to law,” from līt- (a stem of līs, meaning “lawsuit”) and agere, “to carry on.”
Litigators litigate, and litigating often takes the form of carrying on a lawsuit. Litigation is often expensive and time-consuming (which might be good for the litigators but not so much for their clients). For this reason, people often try to avoid litigation when they’re on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Some choose to go through arbitration, which is a process in which a third party helps to settle the dispute.
Those who do engage in litigation and present their cases in court can still agree to settle before a decision is reached by the court—meaning they agree to stop litigating and come to a deal on their own (though often still with the help of the litigators).
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How is litigate used in real life?
The word litigate is most often used in the context of a lawsuit, but its general use is not uncommon.
— East Bay Times (@EastBayTimes) December 17, 2019
Any lawyers out there who are hunters or receptive to hunting and can litigate on conservation issues? Specifically, can file briefs—amicus or otherwise. Are familiar with EAJA and other laws.
One of my clients is searching for adept lawyers. Suggestions appreciated!
— Gabriella Hoffman (@Gabby_Hoffman) October 21, 2019
Grasso says the job of the attorney general is to "advocate, legislate and litigate," by looking at the state's issues and proposing solutions.
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) January 16, 2018
Try using litigate!
True or False?
Litigate usually refers to engaging in a criminal trial.
Example sentences from the Web for litigate
Especially in heavily litigated Pennsylvania, courts upheld those changes.Why Josh Hawley is atop the list of GOP lawmakers getting backlash over the Capitol riots|Amber Phillips|January 11, 2021|Washington Post
Instead they chose to litigate around the truth, pretending there was a legitimate path to overturning state results when the law made clear there wasn’t.Republicans courted violence at the US Capitol by ignoring this key law|Roya Wolverson|January 8, 2021|Quartz
Whatever the decision is will be litigated because they’re going to fight it.‘More petty fights between tech titans’: Confessions of a media buyer on Apple vs. Facebook, Google lawsuits|Kristina Monllos|December 18, 2020|Digiday
Don’t try to show him stuff or re-litigate his refusal to look.Carolyn Hax: Cellphones push his buttons, and he pushes back|Carolyn Hax|November 20, 2020|Washington Post
Still, experts point out that these procedures are far from perfect, and some are still being litigated.9 questions about 2020’s record-breaking early vote, answered|Rani Molla|October 30, 2020|Vox
That it took 12 years to litigate without one does no credit to the legal system.
Did you get the impression that Cosby would litigate anything he found in your book to be controversial?A Full-Length Bill Cosby Portrait: From Track Star to Ugly Sweaters|Scott Porch|September 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Innocence is not a basis for appealing and we could not re-litigate innocence on appeal.
Our super-rich can litigate and settle their way out of charges we peons could never escape.
Rather than embrace the future, the two sides endlessly litigate the past.
He would not approve of her accepting the hand of a man who would be resolved to litigate this matter with him.Miss Mackenzie|Anthony Trollope
They cannot come into court to litigate their claims, nor can a court decide on them.The Life of John Marshall (Volume 2 of 4)|Albert J. Beveridge
They are now protected by the treaty, but we will litigate them out of all their grants.The Little Lady of Lagunitas|Richard Henry Savage
But so long as it's nobody but Goshorn, I'm goin' to stay and litigate the question till the Millerite millennium comes.The End Of The World|Edward Eggleston
Many litigate in court, not that they may gain anything, but that they may harass others.An Essay on the Trial by Jury|Lysander Spooner