Definition of obiter dictum in English:

obiter dictum

Line breaks: ob¦iter dic¦tum
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪktəm

noun (plural obiter dicta /ˈdɪktə/)

  • 1A judge’s expression of opinion uttered in court or in a written judgement, but not essential to the decision and therefore not legally binding as a precedent.
    More example sentences
    • This Court will be very busy if we grant special leave in respect of judges' obiter dicta.
    • Remarks about equitable leases were therefore merely obiter dicta; and although they pointed the way to a solution of this problem, they have not been taken up in any later decision.
    • That submission runs into the authority of a number of final courts in the world and obiter dicta of this Court.
  • 1.1An incidental remark.
    More example sentences
    • The Maxims were collected after Napoleon's death from what editor David Chandler rightfully terms his obiter dicta, casual remarks, observations, or comments that were culled from a vast mass of documents, letters, and memoirs.
    • Rather than trying to capture an argument whose start I missed, which depends on knowledge of philosophers I have not read, I'll note a couple of obiter dicta: bq…
    • Mr. Smith treats certain of my remarks about Kierkegaard as though they were obiter dicta, insouciantly tossed off without context or explanation.


Latin obiter 'in passing' + dictum 'something that is said'.

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