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

    1. One of the territorial divisions of a country. The term is chiefly used in this sense in France, where the division of the country into departments is somewhat analogous, both territorially and for governmental purposes, to the division of an American state into counties.
    2. One of the divisions of the executive branch of government. Used in this sense In the United States, where each department is charged with a specific class of duties, and comprises an organized staff of offl-ciais; e. g., the department of state, department of war, etc.