legal lexicon – conclusory instead of conclusive
|I’m not a lawyer, at all, but I noticed an article about a legal case involving the Grand(ville) Dragon ending because the plaintiff was being conclusory, with that word being linked to a definition by the leader of the Volokh Conspiracy:
A few weeks ago, I noticed that a first-year student of mine used the word “conclusory” instead of “conclusive.” I corrected him — I was polite (I think), but my job is to teach students and part of the job is to teach them how to use words properly. A “conclusory argument,” I pointed out, is an argument that is long on conclusions and short on supporting evidence; “conclusive evidence,” on the other hand, is evidence that points persuasively to a certain conclusion.
To my surprise, a week later I read this Language Log item, written by linguistics professor Mark Liberman:
Huh? What do you mean, missing from standard English dictionaries? Well, sure enough, here’s the entry from the Oxford English Dictionary: “Relating or tending to a conclusion; conclusive.” And from the Random House, by way of dictionary.com, “conclusive.”