I thought my vocabulary was pretty extensive – including lots of unusual, dialect and even obsolete words and phrases. I saw a word today which I thought was misspelled but then realised, no, it was an actual word.

Recuse:

  • to challenge  a legal person such as a judge or juror as unqualified to perform their legal duties because of a potential conflict of interest, or lack of impartiality; in other words, that a judge or juror should not be involved in a trial because they have a personal prejudice against a someone involved, or a particular interest in the result :
  • to recuse oneself – as a judge – to excuse oneself from a case because of a potential conflict of interest, bias or lack of impartiality.

Apparently, as you might guess from the sound of it, recuse comes from the French  recuser, which comes from Latin recusare,  which actually means “to refuse.” It was first used as an English word meaning “to refuse or reject” in the 1300’s and four hundred years later, it had acquired its legal connotation.  Over the last fifty years it has been revived – I think mainly in the USA as I have never ever come across it before, and I am quite widely read.

I’m guessing it will crop up a lot more now, I think people will be recusing themselves all over the place!!

I was not the only one to be puzzled by it – apparently there has been 100% increase in people looking it up  after this:

http://www.vox.com/latest-news/2017/3/2/14792402/recuse-definition-meaning-merriam-webster-jeff-sessions

One thought on “Well, I’ve learned a new word today

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