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The VLW High Five: Mispronounced words

The language of law is rich and varied. Anyone who goes to law school learns a whole new vocabulary. And words, especially in statutes, are open to different meanings and interpretations. But are they open to different pronunciations?

Not so much.

Here are five words that you will hear pronounced any number of ways, some of which actually are correct.


Amicus is not the hero in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” – That’s Atticus. Amicus is used as shorthand for ”amicus curiae,” or friend of the court.

You’ll hear AM-i-cus and a-MEEK-us.

The meek shall inherit the earth, or at least the friends of the court. The latter is correct.


If you say the judge aired, sounds like he threw a basketball that missed the basket, and the backboard.

If you say the judge urred, sounds like he mumbles, stumbles and is generally inarticulate.

The former pronunciation, a homonym for heir, is preferred.

How about: The judge got it wrong.


There are those who will say this phrase “O-yezz.” And they sound like Barry White getting excited about something.

Go with “Oy Yay”…which admittedly sounds a lot like “Oy vey.”


The junk science case often gets a French twist and comes out as doh-BEAR.

The correct, if a little less cosmopolitan, pronunciation is DAW-bert.


Here is a phrase where the French is correct – VWAR DEER. Literally, it means “To see, to say.”

You may run across VOR DIYER. In that case, you may want just to run away.

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