nolo contendere

[ noh-loh kuhn-ten-duh-ree ]
/ ˈnoʊ loʊ kənˈtɛn də ri /

noun Law.

(in a criminal case) a defendant's pleading that does not admit guilt but subjects him or her to punishment as though a guilty plea had been entered, the determination of guilt remaining open in other proceedings.

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Also Informal, no·lo [noh-loh] /ˈnoʊ loʊ/ .

Origin of nolo contendere

First recorded in 1830–35; from Latin: “I am unwilling to contend”; see also nolle prosequi

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH nolo contendere

acquitted, innocent, nolo contendere
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for nolo contendere

nolo contendere
/ (ˈnəʊləʊ kɒnˈtɛndərɪ) /

noun

law, mainly US a plea made by a defendant to a criminal charge having the same effect in those proceedings as a plea of guilty but not precluding him from denying the charge in a subsequent action

Word Origin for nolo contendere

Latin: I do not wish to contend
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for nolo contendere

nolo contendere
[ (noh-loh kuhn-ten-duh-ree, kuhn-ten-duh-ray) ]

A plea that can be entered in a criminal or civil case, by which an accused person neither admits guilt nor proclaims innocence of a charge. Nolo contendere is Latin for “I do not wish to contend.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.