habeas corpus

habeas corpus

[hey-bee-uhs kawr-puhs]
noun Law.
a writ requiring a person to be brought before a judge or court, especially for investigation of a restraint of the person's liberty, used as a protection against illegal imprisonment.

Origin:
< Latin: literally, have the body (first words of writ), equivalent to habeās 2nd singular present subjunctive (with imperative force) of habēre to have + corpus body

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World English Dictionary
habeas corpus (ˈheɪbɪəs ˈkɔːpəs)
 
n
law a writ ordering a person to be brought before a court or judge, esp so that the court may ascertain whether his detention is lawful
 
[C15: from the opening of the Latin writ, literally: you may have the body]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

habeas corpus
1465, from L., lit. "(you should) have the person," in phrase habeas corpus ad subjiciendum "produce or have the person to be subjected to (examination)," opening words of writs in 14c. Anglo-Fr. documents to require a person to be brought before a court or judge, especially to determine if that person
is being legally detained. From habeas, second pers. sing. pres. subjunctive of habere "to have, to hold" (see habit) + corpus "person," lit. "body" (see corporeal).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
habeas corpus [(hay-bee-uhs kawr-puhs)]

A legal term meaning that an accused person must be presented physically before the court with a statement demonstrating sufficient cause for arrest. Thus, no accuser may imprison someone indefinitely without bringing that person and the charges against him or her into a courtroom. In Latin, habeas corpus literally means “you shall have the body.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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