- Dictum is defined as a statement or ruling that is from an official source or that expresses a principle.
An example of dictum is a rule found in the Constitution or a ruling issued by a judge.
nounpl. dictums or dicta
- a statement or saying, esp. a formal statement, specif.
- of fact, opinion, principle, etc.
- of one's will or judgment
- Law a judge's remark or observation on some point of law which is not essential to the case in question, hence not binding as a legal precedent
Origin of dictumClassical Latin something said, word, neuter of dictus, past participle of dicere: see diction
nounpl. dic·ta or dic·tums
- An authoritative, often formal pronouncement: “He cites Augustine's dictum that ‘If you understand it, it is not God’” (Joseph Sobran).
- Law A side remark made in a judicial opinion that is not necessary for the decision in the case and therefore is not to be regarded as establishing the law of the case or setting legal precedent. Also called obiter dictum.
Origin of dictumLatin, from neuter past participle of dīcere, to say; see deik- in Indo-European roots.
(plural dicta or dictums)
From Latin dictum (“proverb, maxim”).
dictum - Legal Definition
In a court’s decision, a statement of opinion or of a general rule that is explanatory or suggestive only, and not binding on courts in future cases, because it does not form part of the court’s central argument. For example, a judge’s suggestion as to how she might decide a related controversy not presently before her would be considered dictum.