[ lit-i-geyt ]
/ 藞l瑟t 瑟藢ge瑟t /
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verb (used with object), lit路i路gat路ed, lit路i路gat路ing.
to make the subject of a lawsuit; contest at law.
Archaic. to dispute (a point, assertion, etc.).
verb (used without object), lit路i路gat路ed, lit路i路gat路ing.
to carry on a lawsuit.
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Origin of litigate

First recorded in 1605鈥15, litigate is from the Latin word l墨tig膩tus (past participle of l墨tig膩re to go to law). See litigant, -ate1


lit路i路ga路tive, adjectivere路lit路i路gate, verb (used with object), re路lit路i路gat路ed, re路lit路i路gat路ing.un路lit路i路gat路ed, adjectiveun路lit路i路gat路ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023


What does聽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鈥檚 just a minor issue鈥攚e don鈥檛 have to litigate it over and over again. 聽

Example: They want to avoid having to litigate, so they鈥檙e going to try to get you to settle out of court.

Where does聽litigate come from?

The first records of the word litigate come from the early 1600s. It derives from the Latin verb l墨tig膩re, meaning 鈥渢o go to law,鈥 from l墨t- (a stem of l墨s, meaning 鈥渓awsuit鈥) and agere, 鈥渢o carry on.鈥

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鈥檙e 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鈥攎eaning 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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What are some other forms related to litigate?

What are some words that share a root or word element with litigate?聽

What are some words that often get used in discussing litigate?

How is聽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.



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True or False?聽

Litigate usually refers to engaging in a criminal trial.

How to use litigate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for litigate

/ (藞l瑟t瑟藢伞e瑟t) /

to bring or contest (a claim, action, etc) in a lawsuit
(intr) to engage in legal proceedings

Derived forms of litigate

litigator, noun

Word Origin for litigate

C17: from Latin l墨tig膩re, from l墨t-, stem of l墨s lawsuit + agere to carry on
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012