Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

English Legal History Research Guide

Contents of this guide include print, micro-media and Internet resources available to facilitate research in legal history at Georgetown Law.

Dictionaries & Thesauri

Listed here are just a few dictionaries and legal thesauri, which may be useful when using antiquated materials, especially those before the 18th century. Modern dictionaries are helpful only if they give a root explanation to a particular term or if they trace the term's history. Other dictionaries listed here are especially useful for Law French or Latin translations.

  • Black, Henry Campbell. Black's Law Dictionary. 7th ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West Group, 1999. KF156.B53 1999
    • There are many more editions of Black's Law Dictionary available in the stacks of the Library.
    • Available on Westlaw.
  • Burton, William C. Burton's Legal Thesaurus. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillian Library References, 1999.KF156.B856 1999
  • Cowell, John. The Interpreter. New York: Da Capo Press, 1970. Reprint of Cambridge: J. Legate, 1607.KD313.C68 1970r
    • This is a reprint of the 1607 edition, which is very useful for early obscure legal terms.
  • Cowell, John. A Law Dictionary: Or, The Interpreter of Words and Terms, Used Either in the Common or Statute Laws of Great Britain, and in Tenures and Jocular Customs. [London]: E. and R. Nutt, and R. Gosling, 1727. KD313.C6 1727 Folio
  • Jacob, Giles. The Law Dictionary: Explaining the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the English Law. 6 vols. 1st American ed. from 2nd London. Philadelphia: P. Byrne, 1811. KD313 .J3 1811
  • Jacob, Giles. A Law Grammar: or, Rudiments of the Law. 6th ed. London: W. Clarke and Sons, 1817.KD661.J33 1817 Octavo
  • Tomlins, Thomas E. The Law-Dictionary, Explaining the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the British Law. 4th ed. 2 vols. London: J. and W.T. Clarke, 1835. KD313.T64 1835 Quarto
  • Walker, David M. The Oxford Companion to Law. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.K48.W34 1980
    • Also available in the stacks of the Library.