A legal doublet is a standardized phrase used frequently in English legal language consisting of two or more words that are near synonyms. The origin of the doubling—and sometimes even tripling—often lies in the transition from use of one language for legal purposes to use of another for the same purposes, as from a Germanic ([Anglo-]Saxon or Old English) term to a Romance (Latin or Law French) term or, within the Romance subfamily, from a Latin term to a Law French term. To ensure understanding, words of Germanic origin were often paired with words having equivalent or near-equivalent meanings in Latin (reflecting the interactions between Germanic and Roman law following the decline of the Roman Empire) or, later, Law French (reflecting the influence of the Norman Conquest), and words of Latin origin were often paired with their Law French cognates or outright descendants. Such phrases can often be pleonasms[1] and Siamese twins. In other cases, the two components did not arise through such synonym annotation but rather referred to two differentiable ideas whose differentiation is subtle, appreciable only to lawyers, long since obsolete, or a combination of those. For example, ways and means, referring to methods and resources respectively,[2] are differentiable, in the same way that tools and materials, or equipment and funds, are differentiable—but the difference between them is often practically irrelevant to the contexts in which the Siamese twin ways and means is used today in non-legal contexts as a mere cliché where one word would do (for example, "methods"), and because each of the words can practically mean "methods", the second can seem redundant in the clichéd, non-legal instances.

List of common legal doubletsEdit

List of common legal tripletsEdit

  • arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable
  • cancel, annul and set aside[1]
  • convey, transfer and set over[1]
  • give, devise and bequeath[1]
  • grant, bargain, sell[1]
  • name, constitute and appoint[1]
  • ordered, adjudged and decreed[3]
  • remise, release and forever quit claim[1]
  • rest, residue and remainder[1]
  • right, title and interest[1]
  • sign, seal and deliver

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am Espenschied, Lenné Eidson (2010). "10.1 Eliminate clutter and redundant language § Eliminate common doublets and triplets". Contract Drafting: Powerful Prose in Transactional Practice. ABA Fundamentals. Chicago: American Bar Association. pp. 164–165. ISBN 978-1-60442-795-0. LCCN 2010003298. OCLC 505017586. OL 15443452W.
  2. ^ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  3. ^ a b Ingels, Mia B. (2006). " Doublets and triplets". Legal English Communication Skills. Learning English. Leuven, Belgium: Academische Coöperatieve Vennootschap. pp. 60–61. ISBN 90-334-6112-9. OCLC 150389897.
  4. ^ "Doublets". TransLegal. 12 January 2010. Archived from the original on 2013-09-08.
  5. ^ Garner, Bryan A. (2011). Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage. Rev. ed. of: A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 577. ISBN 978-0-19-538420-8. LCCN 2011004242. OCLC 671709669. OL 24973858M.