Page:Black's Law Dictionary (Second Edition).djvu/354

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is frequently used in the creation, enlarging, and extending the powers and duties of hoards and officers, in defining certain offenses and providing punishment for the same, and thus enlarging and extending the scope of the criminal law. And it is properly used in the title where the object of the act is to determine or fix boundaries, more especially where a dispute has arisen concerning them. It is used between different governments, as to define the extent of a kingdom or country." People v. Bradley, 36 Mich. 452.

DEFINITIO. Lat. Definition, or, more strictly, limiting or bounding; as in the maxim of the civil law: Omnis definitio periculosa est, parum est enim ut non subverti possit, (Dig. 50. 17, 202;) i. e., the attempt to bring the law within the boundaries of precise definitions is hazardous, as there are but few cases in which such a limitation cannot be subverted.

DEFINITION. A description of a thing by its properties; an explanation of the meaning or a word or term. Webster. The process of stating the exact meaning of a word by means of other words. Worcester. Foe Warner v. Beers. 23 Wend. (N. Y.) 103: Marvin v. State. 19 Ind. 181; Mickle v. Miles, 1 Grant, Cas. (Pa.) 328.

DEFINITIVE. That which finally and completely ends and settles a controversy. A definitive sentence or judgment is put in opposition to an interlocutory judgment.

A distinction may be taken between a final and a definitive judgment. The former term is applicable when the judgment exhausts the powers of the particular court in which it is rendered: while the latter word designates a judgment that is above any review or contingency of reversal. U. S. v. The Peggy, 1 Cranch. 103. 2 L. Ed. 49.

Definitive sentence. The final judgment, decree or sentence of an ecclesiastical court. 3 Bl. Comm. 101.

DEFLORATION. Seduction or debauching. The act by which a woman is deprived of her virginity.

DEFORCE. In English law. To withhold wrongfully; to withhold the possession of lands from one who is lawfully entitled to them. 3 Bl. Comm. 172; Phelps v. Baldwin, l7 Conn. 212.

In Scotch law. To resist the execution of the law; to oppose by force a public officer in the execution of his duty. Bell.

DEFORCEMENT. Deforcement is where a man wrongfully holds lands to which another person is entitled. It therefore includes disseisin, abatement, discontinuance, and intrusion. Co. Litt. 277b, 331b; Foxworth v. White, 5 Strob. (S. C.) 115; Woodruff v. Brown. 17 N. J. Law, 209; Hopper v. Hopper. 21 N. J. Law, 543. But it is applied especially to cases. not falling under those heads, where the person entitled to the freehold has never had possession; thus, where a lord has a seignory, and lands escheat to him propter defectum sanguinis, but the seisin is withheld from him, this is a deforcement, and the person who withholds the seisin is called a “deforceor.” 3 Bl. Comm. 172.

In Scotch law. The opposition or resistance made to messengers or other public officers while they are actually engaged in the exercise of their offices. Eisk. Inst. 4. 4. 32.

DEFORCIANT. One who wrongfully keeps the owner of lands and tenements out of the possession of them. 2 Bl. Comm. 350.

DEFORCIARE. L. Lat. To withhold lands or tenements from the rightful owner. This is a word of art which cannot be supplied by any other word. Co. Litt. 331b.

DEFORGIATIO. L. Lat. In old English law. A distress, distraint, or seizure of goods for satisfaction or a lawful debt. Cowell.

DEFOSSION. The punishment of being buried alive.

DEFRAUD. To practice fraud; to cheat or trick; to deprive a person of property or any interest, estate, or right by fraud, deceit, or artifice. People v. Wiman, 148 N. Y. 29. 42 N. E. 408; Alderman v. People 4 Mich. 424, 69 Am. Dec. 321; U. S. v. Curley (C. C.) 122 Fed. 740; Weber v. Mich. 131 Ill. 520, 23 N. E. 646; Edgell v. Smith. 50 W. Va. 349, 40 S. E. 402; Curley v. U. S. 130 Fed. 1. 64 C. C. A. 309.

DEFRAUDACION. In Spanish law. The Crime Committed by a person who fraudulently avoids the payment of some public tax.

DEFRAUDATION. Privation by fraud.

DEFUNCT. Deceased; a deceased person. A common term in Scotch law.

DEFUNCTUS. Lat. Dead. "Defunctus sine prole,” dead without (leaving) issue.

DEGASTER. L. Fr. To waste.

DEGRADATION. A deprivation of dignity; dismission from office. An ecclesiastical censure, whereby a clergyman is divested of his holy orders. There are two sorts by the canon law,—one summary, by word only; the other solemn, by stripping the party degraded of those ornaments and rights which are the ensigns of his degree Degradation is otherwise called “deposition." but the canonists have distinguished between these two terms, deeming the former as the greater punishment of the two. There is likewise a degradation of a lord or