Duhaime's Military Law Dictionary

Attention! You will pay read and learn the law of the military by considering all these fine terms presented by Duhaime's Military Law Dictionary. We shall never surrender!

Aggression
Unjustified use of force against the territorial integrity of another state.
Alliance
A military treaty between two or more states, providing for a mutually-planned offensive, or for assistance in the case of attack on any member.
al Qaeda
A terrorist organization, nominally Islamic, and originally based in Afghanistan.
Angary
The right of a state at war, in circumstances of necessity, to seize or destroy property belonging to a neutral state.
Assassination
The targeted, covert killing of an individual without legal process and usually for reasons of, though not necessarily limited to, political or military expediency.
Bioterrorism
The release of an infectious agent to cause illness or death against a civilian population.
Blockade
The blocking of ingress or egress of any ship with the coast of a targeted state.
Capitulation
Abandonment by one belligerent to another, of a defined place, usually by way of a negotiated arrangement.
Civil War
Armed conflict by identifiable faction(s) within a nation which threatens or has broken down an existing government, law and order.
Conquest
The acquisition of territory by force of arms.
Conscientious Objector
Someone with a firm, fixed, and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or the bearing of arms, by reason or religious, moral or ethical training and belief.
Conscription
Compulsory military service.
Convoy
A group of supply ships travelling under the escort of warships.
Coup d'etat
French: an often violent, always sudden and unlawful replacement of an existing government.
Court Martial
A military court set up to try and punish offenses taken by members of the army, navy or air force.
Crimes Against Humanity
An international criminal justice offence; the perpetration of acts of war upon a civilian, non-soldier population.
Declaration of War
An explicit warning from one state to another, in the form either of a reasoned intent to commence hostilities or of an ultimatum which carries the same result.
Disrate
A term of maritime law where an officer or other seaman is either demoted in rank or deprived of a promotion.
Enemy Combatant
A term of American anti-terrorism law, referring to the theoretically temporary status of an accused during which he or she is detained without charges, judicial review (habeas corpus) or access to an attorney.
Espionage
The practice of playing the spy, or of employing spies.
FISA Order
(USA) A court order approving electronic surveillance or a search of a target suspected of acting on behalf of a foreign power or terrorist organization.
Genocide
Systematic killing of persons because of their ethnicity.
Hazing
Unofficial punishment administered by peers.
Hors de combat
French: outside of combat. A civilian or a soldier who has relinquished or been extricated from combat status.
Hostis Humani Generis
Latin: the enemy of mankind.
In Terrorem
Latin: in terror, fright, threat or warning.
Jus Ad Bellum
Latin: the legal authority to wage war.
Just War
A war which is primarily defensive or retributive.
Lieber Code
The 1863 military code of conduct written by Francis Lieber at the request of US President Abraham Lincoln.
Man of war
A vessel under military (naval or navy) command.
Martial Law
The suspension of regular government and habeas corpus or the reliance of military law enforcement.
Nazism
An aggressive political and militaristic form of government including the use of international deceit and expansionism, the arbitrary suspension of the rule of law, and arbitrary eugenics or genocide.
Neutrality
A state's declared impartiality and non-interference in the declared or de facto war of other states.
Perfidy
The intentional violation of a promise or of some trust, such as misusing a flag of truce during war in order to facilitate an attack.
Posse Comitatus
The emergency roundup of a group of civilians or soldiers to address a significant civil law enforcement crisis.
Principle of Humanity
A general principle of international law that provides that civilians are hors de combat and that even as regards to combatants, superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering is prohibited.
Prisoner of War
A member of the enemy's armed forces, or attached to the hostile army for active aid, who has fallen into the hands of the captor, either fighting or wounded, on the field or in the hospital, by individual surrender or by capitulation.
Prize
Property taken at sea from an enemy.
Prize Court
Courts instituted for the purpose of trying judicially the lawfulness of captures at sea.
Prize Law
Rules of international law under which in war conditions, property and vessels, including transport ships, and their cargoes, may be seized.
Quam legem exteri nobis posuere, eandem illis ponemus
Latin: What law is imposed by foreign powers on our merchants, we will impose on their's.
Revolution
Rebellion, often by organized military action, but always with the support of a significant proportion of the population, aimed at the replacement of an existing government.
Spy / Spies
A person who acts clandestinely or on false pretenses to endeavour to obtain information of or within another state with the intention of communicating or selling it to others.
Surrender
A declaration of an overpowered belligerent that it is ceasing hostilities.
Sutler
A civilian merchant assigned to an army in the field to provision soldiers with consumer goods.
Terrorism
Violence against civilians intended to intimidate a population or a government from taking or abstaining from an act.
Treason
To aid or enlist with a state enemy or to attempt or conspire to harm the head of state, such as a king, queen or president.
Tu quoque
Latin: you too; a justification in international law that the whatever act is being complained of was also committed by the accusing parties.
Unlawful Combatant
A combatant who does not act under orders or with a distinctive uniform and conceals arms and otherwise ignores the laws and customs of war.
War
The use of violence and force between two or more states to resolve a matter of dispute.
War Crimes
Excessive brutality during war, in contravention of an international treaty or convention.
War Treason
Acts committed within the lines of a belligerent as are harmful to him and are intended to favour the enemy.
Weapon of Mass Destruction
Device designed to kill humans through the use of atomic or nuclear energy or the release of chemicals, poisons, biological agents or radioactivity.

Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!