Thursday, February 18, 2010

The worst word: notwithstanding

Working in a legal environment with no law degree, I'm frequently confused. Notwithstanding is of the words that continues to bother me.

This is a terrible word that I suspect was used historically in a different way than it is used today. Think about it.

Breaking it into two words gets: not withstanding. That it, something does not withstand some contrary contrary statement. Under this reasoning, if I say that "you'll get a bunch of money, notwithstanding some other person's asserting a more legitimate claim for that money", you would get money but if some other person had a more legitimate right, you wouldn't get money.

In fact, the word means the exact opposite. It means "regardless". So if I said the above statement in a legal context, I would be saying that "you'll get a bunch of money even if someone else asserts a more legitimate claim for that money". Thus, it is very easy to confuse those who don't speak legalese.

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