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

    Interpretation; explanation.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    The process or the art, of determining the sense, real meaning or proper explanation of obscure or ambiguous terms or provisions in a statute, written instrument or oral agreement or the application of such subject to the case In question, by reasoning in the light derived from extraneous connected circumstances or laws or writings bearing upon the same or a connected matter or by seeking and applying the probable aim and purpose of the provision. It is to be noted that this term is properly distinguished from interpretation, although the two are often used synonymously. In strictness, interpretation is limited to exploring the written text, while construction goes beyond and may call in the aid of extrinsic considerations, as above indicated. Strict and liberal construction. Strict construction is construction of a statute or other instrument according to its letter, which recognizes nothing that is not expressed, takes the language used in its exact and technical meaning, and admits no equitable considerations or implications. Paving Co., v. Watt, 51 La. Ann. 1345, 26 South. 70; Stanyan v. Peterborough, 69 N. H. 372, 46 Atl. 191. Liberal construction, on the other hand, expands the meaning of the statute to meet cases which are clearly within the spirit or reason of the law, or within the evil which it was designed to remedy, provided such an interpretation is not inconsistent with the language used; it resolves all reasonable doubts in favor of the applicability of the statute to the particular case. Black, Interp. Laws, 282; Lawrence v. McCalmont, 2 How. 449, 11 L. Ed. 326; In re Johnson's Estate, 98 Cal. 531, 33 Pac. 460, 21 L. In A. 380; Shorey v. Wyckoff, 1 Wash. T. 351.
    —Construction, court of. A court of equity or of common law, as the case may bs, is calied the court of construction with regard to wills, as opposed to the court of probate, whose duty is to decide whether an instrument be a will at all. Now, the court of probate may decide that a given instrument is a will, and yet the court of construction may decide that it has no operation, by reason of perpetuities, illegality, uncertainty, etc. Wharton.
    —Equitable construction. A construction of a law, rule, or remedy which has regard more to the equities of the particular transaction or state of affairs involved than to the strict application of the rule or remedy ; that is, a liberal and extensive construction, as opposed to a literal and restrictive. Smiley v. Sampson, 1 Neb. 91.