Definition - Transitive Verb
1  : to injure or damage the rights of by some legal action or prejudice <if it appears that a defendant or the government is prejudiced by a joinder of offenses ­Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 14>
2  : to injure or damage (rights) by some legal action or prejudice <that the denial prejudiced his right to a fair trial> <this clause does not ~ other rights>

Definition - Noun
[Old French, from Latin praejudicium previous judgment, damage, from prae- before + judicium judgment]
1  : injury or detriment to one's legal rights or claims (as from the action of another): as
a  : substantial impairment of a defendant's ability to defend <the court found no ~ to the defendant by the lengthy delay in bringing charges>
b  : tendency for a decision on an improper basis (as past conduct) by a trier of fact <whether an ex parte communication to a deliberating jury resulted in any reasonable possibility of ~ to the defendant ­National Law Journal>
c  : implied waiver of rights and privileges not explicitly retained <District Court erred in attaching ~ to prisoner's complaint for injunctive relief ­National Law Journal>
2  : a final and binding decision (as an adjudication on the merits) that bars further prosecution of the same cause of action or motion <dismisses this case with ~> <the dismissal was without ~>
3 a  : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics <the Constitution does not prohibit laws based on ~ per se ­R. H. Bork>
b  : an attitude or disposition (as of a judge) that prevents impartiality <that the judge before whom the matter is pending has a personal bias or ~...against him ­U.S. Code>

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

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