le·​gal·​ese ˌlē-gə-ˈlēz How to pronounce legalese (audio) -ˈlēs How to pronounce legalese (audio)
: the specialized language of the legal profession
replaced legalese with plain talkSteve Weinberg

Example Sentences

I was confused by the legalese in the contract.
Recent Examples on the Web With a mix of dull legalese and what reads like 1950s pulp fiction, the document describes a vision for bespoke AIs. James Vlahos, Discover Magazine, 21 Apr. 2019 The ballot will explain them in Abraham Lincoln-era legalese that will cross the eyes and scramble the brain of any non-jurist. Helaine Williams, Arkansas Online, 6 Nov. 2022 But few of us have time to wade through the legalese, says Andrew Crawford, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Tatum Hunter And Jeremy B. Merrill, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Sep. 2022 But rendering the legalese into his native tongue offered a unique challenge. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 July 2022 As a former lawyer, Addison can cut through legalese while foregrounding textured descriptions and deftly employing character tropes. Leslie Pariseau, Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2022 Bonner helped us get started by simplifying the legalese. Emerald Elitou, Essence, 8 June 2022 But several critics focus on the CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio, in part because it’s one of the clearest numbers in the morass of proxy-statement legalese. Maria Aspan, Fortune, 27 May 2022 He wasn’t swayed by the legalese that resulted in Bauer not facing charges, rightly understanding that a decision that a case cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt is not the same as an exoneration. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1911, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of legalese was in 1911

Dictionary Entries Near legalese

Cite this Entry

“Legalese.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Legal Definition


le·​gal·​ese ˌlē-gə-ˈlēz, -ˈlēs How to pronounce legalese (audio)
: the specialized language of the legal profession

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