ju·ris·pru·dence | \ ˌju̇r-əs-ˈprü-dᵊn(t)s \

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 \ adjective
jurisprudentially \ˌju̇r-əs-prü-ˈden(t)-sh(ə-)lē \ 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

The point of the Federalist Society is to make room for conservative jurisprudence — and that means, in part, finding ways for right-wing judges to let their hair down. Simon Van Zuylen-wood, Daily Intelligencer, "How Neil Gorsuch Became the Second-Most-Polarizing Man in Washington," 28 May 2018 Activists weren’t far from Yale Law School, where Judge Brett Kavanaugh graduated in 1990 and formed his conservative views on jurisprudence. Alison Kuznitz, courant.com, "Abortion, Women's Rights Activists Rally In New Haven Against Supreme Court Nominee," 10 July 2018 But there is little question that his conservative jurisprudence would have a major impact, given Kavanaugh’s intellect, work ethic and reputation for clarity in his opinions. Brian Bennett, Time, "How Brett Kavanaugh Could Change the Supreme Court—and America," 12 July 2018 President Donald Trump is poised to continue his remake of the U.S. Supreme Court, with a nomination to be announced Monday night that could solidify conservative jurisprudence for years. Jennifer Jacobs And Mark Niquette, Houston Chronicle, "Trump making Supreme Court pick to cement conservative majority," 9 July 2018 In her remarks, Larsen spoke eloquently of her former boss as a buoyant warrior for his conservative jurisprudence. Bill Mears, Fox News, "Trump's Supreme Court candidates: Meet the potential nominees," 6 July 2018 The question is to what extent Barrett’s religion affects her jurisprudence. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump’s reported Supreme Court finalists: Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Raymond Kethledge," 5 July 2018 But after 13 years on the court as chief justice, Roberts, 63, is fairly set in his jurisprudence. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Chief Justice John Roberts inherits expanded role as the Supreme Court's man in the middle," 29 June 2018 Borrowing from that line of jurisprudence makes sense, even though the court has always distinguished between racial and political gerrymandering. Bernard Grofman, Washington Post, "This might be the way to prove partisan gerrymandering, according to the new Supreme Court standard," 9 July 2018

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

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

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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The first known use of jurisprudence was in 1654

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English Language Learners Definition of jurisprudence

: the study of law


ju·ris·pru·dence | \ ˌju̇r-əs-ˈprüd-ᵊns \

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 \ adjective

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