obiter dictum

[ ob-i-ter dik-tuh m ]
/ ˈɒb ɪ tər ˈdɪk təm /

noun, plural ob·i·ter dic·ta [ob-i-ter dik-tuh] /ˈɒb ɪ tər ˈdɪk tə/.

an incidental or passing remark, opinion, etc.
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.

Nearby words

  1. obi,
  2. obie,
  3. obiit,
  4. obit,
  5. obiter,
  6. obituary,
  7. obj.,
  8. object,
  9. object ball,
  10. object choice

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. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for obiter dictum

obiter dictum

/ (ˈɒbɪtə ˈdɪktəm, ˈəʊ-) /

noun plural obiter dicta (ˈdɪktə)

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
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

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