I have a student taking a class on this topic, yet she remained unaware of the term’s precise meaning.
Being of no help until we consulted The OED, I decided that we had a new word for our blog. What I found at The OED entry surprises me. I’d guessed that the word serves the same purpose as “pedagogy” in my field: a theory of learning. In the case of jurisprudence, we have a theory of law.
That proved accurate, but one definition arose: skill with practicing law. That nuance gets at another worthwhile meaning, indicated by the same root that gives us “prudent,” or taking care, being careful.
Finally, our word can indicate a body of laws, something that relates it to the notion of legal precedent.
I hope this post assists my student bound for law school as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
Nominate a word by e-mailing me (jessid -at- richmond -dot- edu) or leaving a comment below.
See all of our Metaphors of the Month here and Words of the Week here.
Image of John Houseman from The Paper Chase.