Sunday, June 17, 2007
Faux amis from the Volokh Conspiracy
Lest anyone doubt the seductive power of legal language, a recent post on the Volokh Conspiracy on "the legal historian's legal false friends" has attracted 100 comments in a matter of days. By "false friends," Volokh is referring to words that appear to be everyday English words with settled meanings, but which have very different legal meanings (or at least, which historically had different legal meanings). Think about terms such as "mayhem," which people use as a synonym for disorder; but it is a distinct common law criminal offense, meaning to injure or disfigure another person.