Litigation “Legally” Defined

The following definitions for “litigation” are taken from Ballantine’s Law Dictionary (3rd edition), Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (6th edition), Black’s Law Dictionary (2nd edition), and Webster’s Dictionary (1828):





An action or suit; a series or group of related suits or actions.



To go to law; to maintain or defend an action as a party thereto; to sue or to be sued.



A person engaged in a litigation; a party to a suit or action.




  1. A contest authorized by law, in a court of justice, for the purpose of enforcing a right.
  2. In order to prevent injustice, courts of equity will restrain a party from further litigation, by a writ of inunction; for example, after two verdicts on trials at bar, in favor of the plaintiff, a perpetual injunction was decreed [Str. 404]. And not only between two individuals will a court of equity grant this relief, as in the above case of several ejectments, but also, when one general-legal right, as a right of fishery, is claimed against several, distinct persons, in which case there would be no end of bringing actions, since each action would only bind the particular right in question, between the plaintiff and defendant in such action, without deciding the general right claimed [2 Atk. 484; 2 Ves. jr. 587. Vide Circuity of Actions].



One engaged in a suit; one fond of litigation.




A judicial controversy. A contest in a court of justice, for the purpose of enforcing a right.



To dispute or contend in form of law; to carry on a suit.



A party to a lawsuit; one engaged in litigation; usually spoken of active parties, not of nominal ones.



LIT’IGATE, v.t. [L. litigo, from lis, litis, a contest or debate.]

To contest in law; to prosecute or defend by pleadings, exhibition of evidence, and judicial debate; as, to litigate a cause or a question.



To dispute in law; to carry on a suit by judicial process.

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