abrogate vs. repeal vs. annul

aglaja

Senior Member
Italiano
Hi! I can't decide which of these 3 verbs is more suitable for my purpose.

I need a specific term that I can use in an academic context: I need to refer to a law that has been abrogated/repealed/annulled by a new act. Which one does it seem more appropriate to a native speaker?

Thanks a lot :)
 
  • rabz12

    Senior Member
    Urdu
    As far as my understanding goes, abrogates sounds perfectly fine here..
    In my knowledge, the word abrogate actually means to remove an existing law with an intention to create a new and improved law or rule. Hope you will understand.. :)
     
    Last edited:

    aglaja

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Thanks both.
    I think that all the 3 verbs could be fine. It was just a matter of "sound" for a native ear :)
    Abrogate seems more technical to me (which would be perfect), but I was afraid to be biased by the fact that in Italian we use a world from the same Latin root.
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Another vote for 'repeal'.

    'abrogate' means exactly the same (according to my Oxford dictionary) but it may look like you're trying to show off by using a fancy word when a plain one will do. (obviuosly depends on context.) (1)

    'annul' has a slightly different meaning.



    (1) One of the Forum members has a sig quoting William Safire -- something like 'never use a big word when a diminutive alternative will suffice'.
    .
     

    aglaja

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Ok, you persuaded me. It is a formal context, but I prefer a more fluent writing rather than a fancy one ;) So I will go for "repeal".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Ok, you persuaded me. It is a formal context, but I prefer a more fluent writing rather than a fancy one ;) So I will go for "repeal".
    It would be careless to do this based on what's been said here.
    You have given no context whatever.
    For example, if you were talking about the law of gravity, I can assure you that it has not been repealed.

    If you are talking about a legal/academic context, you will need to be sure that the term you use means exactly what you intend in the relevant jurisdiction. Repeal and annul are quite different terms. Do not pick a term just because it seems more fluent.
     

    aglaja

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    If you are talking about a legal/academic context, you will need to be sure that the term you use means exactly what you intend in the relevant jurisdiction.
    Thanks for you suggestion panjandrum.
    I would really appreciate an explanation of the different meaning of 'repeal' and 'abrogate' in a legal context. :)
     
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