ju·​ris·​pru·​dence | \ ˌju̇r-əs-ˈprü-dᵊn(t)s How to pronounce jurisprudence (audio) \

Definition of jurisprudence

1 : the science or philosophy of law they have no theories of jurisprudence but … decide each case on its facts— R. H. Bork
2a : a system or body of law Roman jurisprudence labor jurisprudence
b : the course of court decisions as distinguished from legislation and doctrine a tendency that has become apparent in the jurisprudence of the American courts— Bernard Schwartz
3 : a department of law medical jurisprudence

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Other Words from jurisprudence

jurisprudential \ ˌju̇r-​əs-​prü-​ˈden(t)-​shəl How to pronounce jurisprudential (audio) \ adjective
jurisprudentially \ ˌju̇r-​əs-​prü-​ˈden(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce jurisprudentially (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

For a farewell to our jurisprudent, I wish unto him the gladsome light of jurisprudence. . . . With this valedictory to English jurist Sir Thomas Littleton, another jurist, Sir Edward Coke, welcomed two new words into English. In 1628, his jurisprudence meant "knowledge of or skill in law," a now archaic sense that reflects the literal meaning of the word. "Jurisprudence" goes back to Latin prudentia juris (literally "skill in law"), from which was derived the Late Latin formation jurisprudentia, and subsequently our word. The noun jurisprudent means "one skilled in law" - in other words, "a jurist." There's also "jurisprude," a 20th-century back- formation created from "jurisprudence" with influence from "prude." It means "one who makes ostentatious show of jurisprudential learning."

Examples of jurisprudence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In practice, her jurisprudence was much more complex. Pamela King, Scientific American, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Leaves a Nuanced Legacy on Environmental Issues," 19 Sep. 2020 Florida’s state laws and jurisprudence severely limit the powers of local jurisdictions looking to establish civilian oversight of police departments. Mario Ariza, sun-sentinel.com, "New panel would review police conduct in Broward County, but its power is up for debate," 4 Sep. 2020 Her mother, Fatima, taught French and English while completing her doctorate in Islamic jurisprudence. Areeba Shah, The Christian Science Monitor, "How one teacher equips students to stop trafficking before it starts," 24 Aug. 2020 At the same time, the WTO’s dispute-settlement system rewards litigation over negotiation and has attempted to create a jurisprudence often divorced from the text of the rules agreed to by the WTO’s member states. Robert E. Lighthizer, WSJ, "How to Set World Trade Straight," 20 Aug. 2020 The hunt for bin Laden was a locus of religion, terrorism, intelligence gathering, technology, realpolitik, constitutional jurisprudence. Howard Schneider, National Review, "When Piracy Threatened to Destroy the East India Company," 15 Aug. 2020 Earl Warren and William Brennan, two of the main architects of modern liberal jurisprudence, were nominated by Dwight Eisenhower. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "John Roberts emerges as a 2020 campaign issue," 10 Aug. 2020 This court would sustain the Brown jurisprudence in later cases. Bryan Greene, Smithsonian Magazine, "Created 150 Years Ago, the Justice Department’s First Mission Was to Protect Black Rights," 1 July 2020 Only one of these adventures in creative jurisprudence attracted a second signature. The Economist, "Radical justice Will Clarence Thomas stick it out for a 30th year on the court?," 27 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jurisprudence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jurisprudence

1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jurisprudence

see jurisprudent

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The first known use of jurisprudence was in 1654

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Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jurisprudence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jurisprudence. Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for jurisprudence


How to pronounce jurisprudence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of jurisprudence

formal : the study of law


ju·​ris·​pru·​dence | \ ˌju̇r-əs-ˈprüd-ᵊns How to pronounce jurisprudence (audio) \

Legal Definition of jurisprudence

1a : a system or body of law in the federal jurisprudence especially : a body of law dealing with a specific issue or area labor jurisprudence
b : the course of court decisions as distinguished from legislation and doctrine the jurisprudence decided under the source provisionsLouisiana Civil Code
2 : the science or philosophy of law they have no theories of jurisprudence but…decide each case on its facts— R. H. Bork

Other Words from jurisprudence

jurisprudential \ ˌju̇r-​əs-​prü-​ˈden-​chəl How to pronounce jurisprudential (audio) \ adjective

History and Etymology for jurisprudence

Late Latin jurisprudentia knowledge of or skill in law, from Latin juris, genitive of jus right, law + prudentia wisdom, proficiency

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