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mandamus

[man-dey-muh s] /mænˈdeɪ məs/
noun, plural mandamuses.
1.
a writ from a superior court to an inferior court or to an officer, corporation, etc., commanding that a specified thing be done.
verb (used with object)
2.
to intimidate or serve with such writ.
Origin
< Latin mandāmus we command
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mandamus
  • The purpose of a mandamus action is to compel an official to perform his or her duty.
British Dictionary definitions for mandamus

mandamus

/mænˈdeɪməs/
noun (pl) -muses
1.
(law) formerly a writ from, now an order of, a superior court commanding an inferior tribunal, public official, corporation, etc, to carry out a public duty
Word Origin
C16: Latin, literally: we command, from mandāre to command
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for mandamus
n.

1530s, "writ from a superior court to an inferior one, specifying that something be done," (late 14c. in Anglo-French), from Latin, literally "we order," first person plural present indicative of mandare "to order" (see mandate (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for mandamus

originally a formal writ issued by the English crown commanding an official to perform a specific act within the duty of his office. It later became a judicial writ issued from the Court of Queen's Bench, in the name of the sovereign, at the request of an individual suitor whose interests were alleged to be affected adversely by the failure of an official to act as his duty required. It is awarded not as a matter of right but rather at the discretion of the court and is thus largely controlled by equitable principles. The writ is not ordinarily granted when an alternative remedy is available, and it is never granted when the official to whom it would be directed has the legal discretion either to perform the act demanded or to abstain from doing so. In Anglo-American legal systems, mandamus is used by courts of superior jurisdiction to compel the performance of a specific act refused by a lower court, such as the hearing of a case falling within the latter's authority.

Learn more about mandamus with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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