pan·​dect | \ ˈpan-ˌdekt How to pronounce pandect (audio) \

Definition of pandect

1 : a complete code of the laws of a country or system of law
2 : a treatise covering an entire subject

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The original pandect was the "Pandectae," a massive fifty-volume digest of Roman civil law that was created under the emperor Justinian in the 6th century. The Latin word pandectae is the plural of "pandectes," which means "encyclopedic work" or "book that contains everything." "Pandectes" in turn derives from the Greek pandekt‡s ("all-receiving"), from "pan-" ("all") and "dechesthai" ("to receive"). When the word pandect first cropped up in English in the mid-16th century, it referred to the complete code of laws of a particular country or system. Its "comprehensive treatise" sense developed later that century.

First Known Use of pandect

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pandect

Late Latin Pandectae, the Pandects, digest of Roman civil law (6th century a.d.), from Latin, plural of pandectes encyclopedic work, from Greek pandektēs all-receiving, from pan- + dechesthai to receive; akin to Greek dokein to seem, seem good — more at decent

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The first known use of pandect was in 1553

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Cite this Entry

“Pandect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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