Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A union of two or more persons for the carrying on of a joint enterprise or business; a partnership; a corporation; an association.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    A society or association of persons, in considerable number, interested in a common object, and uniting themselves for the prosecution of some commercial or industrial underinking or other legitimate business. Mills v. Sinte, 23 Tex. 303; Smith v. Janesville, 52 Wis. 680, 9 N. W. 789.' The proper signification of the word "company," when applied to persons engaged in trade, denotes those united for the same purpose or in a joint concern. It is so commonly used in this sense, or as indicating a partnership, that few persons accustomed to purchase goods at shops, Where they are sold by retnil, would misapprehend that such was its meaning. Palmer v. Pinkham, 33 Me. 32. Joint stock companies. Joint stock companies are those having a joint stock or capital, which is divided into numerous transferable shares, or consists of transferable stock. Lindl. Partm 6. The term is not identical with "partnership," although every unincorporated society is, in its legal relations, a partnership. In common use a distinction is made, the name "partnership" being reserved for business associations of a limited number of persons (usually not more than four or five) trading under a name composed of their individual names set out in succession; while "company" is appropriated as the designation of a society comprising a larger number of persons, with greater capital, and engaged in more extensive enterprises, and trading under a title not disclosing the names of the individuals. See Allen v. Long, SO Tex. 261, 16 S. W. 43, 26 Am. St. Rep. 735; Adams Exp. Co., v. Schofield, 111 Ky. 832, 64 S. W. 903; Kossakowski v. People, 177 111. 563, 53 N. E. 115; In re Jones, 28 Misc. Rep. 356, 59 N. Y. Supp. 983; Attorney General v. Mercantile Marine Ins. Co., 121 Mass. 525. Sometimes the word is used to represent those members of a partnership whose names do not appear in the name of the firm. See 12 Toullier, 97.
    —Limited company. A company in which the liability of each shareholder is limited by the number of shares he has taken, so that he cannot be called on to contribute beyond the amount of his shares. In England, the memorandum of association of such company may provide that the liability of the directors, manager, or managing director thereof shall be unlimited. 30 & 31 Viet a 131; 1 Lindl. Partn. 383; Mozley & Whitley.
    —Public company. In English law. A business corporation; a society of persons joined together for carrying on some commercial or industrial undertaking.