obiter dictum

[ob-i-ter dik-tuh m]
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noun, plural ob·i·ter dic·ta [ob-i-ter dik-tuh] /ˈɒb ɪ tər ˈdɪk tə/.
  1. an incidental or passing remark, opinion, etc.
  2. Law. an incidental or supplementary opinion by a judge in deciding a case, upon a matter not essential to the decision, and therefore not binding as precedent.

Origin of obiter dictum

1805–15; < Latin: (a) saying by the way
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


British Dictionary definitions for obiter dictum

obiter dictum

noun plural obiter dicta (ˈdɪktə)
  1. law an observation by a judge on some point of law not directly in issue in the case before him and thus neither requiring his decision nor serving as a precedent, but nevertheless of persuasive authority
  2. any comment, remark, or observation made in passing

Word Origin for obiter dictum

Latin: something said in passing
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

Word Origin and History for obiter dictum

"statement in passing," a judge's expression of opinion not regarded as binding or decisive, Latin, literally "something said incidentally;" see obiter + dictum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper