Ejusdem Generis

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Definition: Ejusdem Generis




What is the dictionary definition of Ejusdem Generis?

Dictionary Definition


(eh-youse-dem generous) v adj. Latin for “of the same kind,” used to interpret loosely written statutes. Where a law lists specific classes of persons or things and then refers to them in general, the general statements only apply to the same kind of persons or things specifically listed. Example: if a law refers to automobiles, trucks, tractors, motorcycles and other motor-powered vehicles, “vehicles” would not include airplanes, since the list was of land-based transportation.


Full Definition of Ejusdem Generis


‘Things of the same meta’. A principle of Statutory interpretation that guides the interpretation of passages like ‘tents, caravans and similar dwellings’. For example, ‘cats, dogs, and other pets’ probably excludes lions (as not being pets), but it is less clear whether ‘cats, dogs, and other animals’ would include lions. It may be necessary to infer this from the context of the passage. Certain conventions govern the application of ejusdem generis.

  • There must be two or more specific items before the general term. This was stated formally in Allen v Emmerson and others (1944), among other places. In general, in a clause like lions and other animals the rule does not apply and, unless it is clear from the context, dogs and cats would be included as being animals. On the other hand, dogs and cats would probably not be included in lions, tigers, leopards, and other animals if it is fairly clear that the clause refers to dangerous wild animals.
  • Even if more than two items are specifically listed, they must be ejusdem generis among themselves for them to be ejusdem generis with the others. For example, lions, elephants, and other animals probably includes dogs and cats, because lions and elephants do not themselves belong to a class that exlcudes dogs and cats.

A good example of the application of ejusdem generis is Evan v Cross (1938), where it was held that road markings were not ejusdem generis with traffic signs.

However, the rule is not always applied, particularly where it would clearly conflict with the intentions of the legislature. For example, in Flack v Baldry (1988) it was ruled that ownership of electric stun guns could be prohibited by the Firearms Act, because electricity was a noxious liquid, gas or other thing.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Ejusdem Generis are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 39 Views.