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Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?


Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
Legalese Hall of Shame; a glossary of legal words linked to Adam Freedman's
columns; tips on writing legal documents in plain English; and more!



Saturday, March 15, 2008

Word of the Week


Spitzerfreude


Okay, not exactly a legal word but very close. It's what they call a "portmanteau" word, that is a merger of two existing words -- like, say, advertorial. It's a blend of Elliot Spitzer and schadenfreude, the splendid German word meaning "malicious enjoyment in the misfortune of others." Spitzerfreude (sometimes spelled Spitzenfreude) is defined as "malicious enjoyment in the misfortune of Client 9."


Meanwhile, as speculation mounts that Spitzer might plead to a Mann Act violation, it's worth noting that the original name of the statute was the "Mann White Slave Trade Traffic Act" -- "white slavery" being a nineteenth century term for the act of forcing young women in prostitution.

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