Definition - Noun
often attrib 1 a  : the railing in a courtroom that encloses the area around the judge where prisoners are stationed in criminal cases or where the business of the court is transacted in civil cases
compare bench dock jury box stand
b  : See also court See also tribunal<the younger judge brought a fresh viewpoint to the ~>
2 a  : the whole body of lawyers
: those qualified to practice in the courts of a particular jurisdiction <admitted to the Arizona ~> <the bankruptcy ~>
compare bench
b  : the profession or occupation of lawyer
c  : See also bar examination<passed the ~>
3  : something that prevents admission, progress, or action: as
a  : an intangible impediment, obstacle, or barrier <the restrictive covenant raised a racial ~> <consent of the victim is a ~ to conviction>
b  : the permanent preclusion of a claim or action esp. due to the loss of a previous suit based on the same cause of action and between the same parties <its earlier successful suit against the purchaser for the price was a ~ to the present suit ­Martino v. McDonald's System, Inc., 598 F.2d 1079 (1979)> <a statute of limitations ~ to the present action>
compare collateral estoppel at estoppel merger res judicata
: before the court <in the case at bar>
: in the legal profession <pressures faced by women at the bar ­R. E. Hauser>

Definition - Transitive Verb
1  : to keep out
: See also exclude<cannot ~ the items from sale>
2  : to prevent from doing or accomplishing (something) <plaintiff's conduct may ~ her recovery> <the contract ~s his reinstatement>
3  : See also preclude
a  : to act as a bar to (as a claim or action) <liberative prescription ~s actions ­Louisiana Civil Code> <final judgment barred the subsequent claim>
b  : to prevent (a party) from bringing a claim or action <plaintiffs are barred by the judgment...from relitigating their claims ­Roach v. Teamsters Local Union No. 688, 595 F.2d 446 (1979)>
see also estop
compare merge

Pronunciation Key

  • \&\ as a and u in a b ut
  • \[^&]\ as e in kitt en
  • \&r\ as ur and er in f urther
  • \a\ as a inash
  • \A\ as a in ace
  • \?\ as o in m op
  • \au\ as ou in ou t
  • \ch\ as ch in ch in
  • \e\ as e in bet
  • \E\ as ea in easy
  • \g\ as g in go
  • \i\ as i in hit
  • \I\ as i in ice
  • \j\ as j in job
  • \[ng]\ as ng in sing
  • \O\ as o in go
  • \o\ as aw in law
  • \oi\ as oy in boy
  • \th\ as th in thin
  • \[th_]\ as thin the
  • \?\ as oo in loot
  • \u\ as oo in foot
  • \y\ as y in yet
  • \zh\ as si in vision

Search Legal Dictionary

Based on Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©2001.
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.