Glossary of Investigation Terms and Legal Definitions

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This collection of investigation definitions is intended to help private investigators, police officers and everyday citizens understand the meaning of various legal terms used by lawyers, attorneys, government officials, law enforcement departments, and other legal professionals.

During the course of investigation work, private investigators have interactions with police officers to discuss information contained in police reports. In addition, private eyes work directly with attorneys and lawyers to review court records and discuss court cases. Also, private investigators speak with experts and specialists about such things as forensics, crime scene investigations and even handwriting analysis.

Having an understanding of the legal terms and the definitions will help private investigators “speak the language” of their craft. The more well-versed you become in the language of law, the more valuable you will become to your clients. Being able to translate legalese will help your clients feel more comfortable with you as a true expert investigator and you’ll be able to help guide them through the complexities of the legal system. It’s not your job to take the place of a qualified attorney, but you should be able to “talk the talk”.

List of Legal Terms and Definitions

Following is a list of some of the more commonly used terms and definitions. Click on a term in the list below to view the definition and recommendations for additional resources related to the term.

Our list of private investigation and legal terms is constantly growing, so please check back often. If you have a suggestion for a new definition, or have a question, please send us an email and we’ll do what we can to help.

Adultery

Adultery is generally defined as the voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and another person who is not their spouse. In the most basic sense, adultery is cheating on your spouse. In most cases, only the married party is said to have committed adultery.  If both parties are married (but not to each other) then they both have committed separate acts of adultery. Adultery is also referred to as: Extramarital sex, philandering, infidelity or cheating. In addition to cheating, other slang terms include creeping, “on the down low”, sleeping around, and others.

Adultery does not include fornication. The term “adultery” carries a moral or religious association, while the term “extramarital sex” is morally or judgmentally neutral. Many would consider that a married person has committed adultery by simply having impure thoughts, or confiding in a member of the opposite sex. Some consider that a married individual who has inappropriate chats with others online is guilty of being adulterous.

Affidavit

Arrests and Arrest Warrants

Assault and Battery

Bonds

A bond is a written, binding agreement to perform something as specified.  Many different types of bonds exist and appear in marriage, land and court records used by genealogists. Historically, laws required administrators and executors of estates, grooms, and guardians of minors to post bonds.  If a bondsman failed to perform, the court may have demanded payment of a specified sum as a penalty. Private investigators should have an understanding of bonds, as they will undoubtedly have to deal with different types of bonds during the course of their work. Investigators who offer bounty hunting services will need to be familiar with bail bonds and bail bondsmen.

There will be a bail bond associated with every fugitive you are hired to track and retrieve. In addition, detectives will themselves need to be bonded as a part of the licensing requirements in most, if not every state. In this situation, it serves as insurance for a third party, such as state in which the private eye is licensed. It serves as a way of insuring that the licensed individual properly complies with state laws, statutes and rules and regulations of their trade. The cost of obtaining a bond varies from state to state, term periods, coverage amounts and whether you are an individual or a full-service agency. Do a Google search to find local companies that offer insurance services in this area. See also Bail Bonds and Bail Bondsman.

Burglary

Burglary is a crime that is defined as the illegal entry into a building or home for the purposes of committing an offense or committing a crime. Usually the offense committed during burglary is the theft of property. Burglary is one of the most common crimes in the United States. Individuals burglarize homes, cares, businesses, storage units, and more. Stolen items are often sold at pawn shops or via online marketplaces such as eBay. The crime of burglary consists of two elements: trespass and breaking.

The trespass element indicates the an individual’s presence on the property (car, storage unit, etc.) is without the owner’s consent. In other words the thief did not have permission to enter. The breaking element consists of making an opening to enter the building. To commit a burglary is to burgle or to burglarize. Other common names for burglary include: Breaking and entering, Housebreaking, Break-in, Home invasion.

The punishment for burglary is usually imprisonment. The term of the imprisonment depends on the degree of severity of the burglary. Greater penalties are given if the burglary involved deadly weapons or if persons were injured as a result of the crime.

Citizen’s Arrest

Class Action Lawsuit

In a legal sense, a class action lawsuit is a form of suit in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or in which a class of defendants is being sued.  This type of legal action originated in the United States. However, in several European countries, changes have been made to the legal system to allow consumer organizations to bring claims on behalf of large groups of consumers, similar to the processes used in the U.S..

Class action lawsuits are most often seen in relation to pharmaceuticals and drug companies, usually related to injuries or deaths associated with a particular product or drug. In other cases, many public companies face class action suits related to the trading of their stock and dividend matters.

Class action lawsuits may appear to offer an advantage to individual plaintiffs because they aggregate a large number of individualized claims into one representational lawsuit. However, if a lawsuit is won against the defendant, the plaintiffs in the case usually only receive a very small amount of compensation. It is usually the attorneys and legal teams that end up making millions. Many people who receive a notice of a class action lawsuit in the mail do not complete the steps necessary to make a claim.

The attorneys and lawyers involved in the process make the claims process confusing and laborious, seemingly in an attempt to reduce the number of claims made by individuals. This results in a larger pot of money for others, including the legal group involved in administering the suit.

These types of lawsuits are generally viewed as an important and valuable part of the legal system when they permit the fair and efficient resolution of legitimate claims of numerous parties by allowing the claims to be aggregated into a single action against a defendant that has allegedly caused harm.

However, the typical class action suits end up benefiting the attorneys who file the suit. The burden is often placed on the individual to file a claim and provide proof of wrongdoing. Sometimes the burden is so great, that individuals don’t bother completing the requirements of the class action suits. This ultimately ends up padding the pockets of the attorneys.

Conspiracy

In criminal law, a conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future. In other words, they “conspire” to commit a crime together.  In some cases, a conspiracy requires there to be at least one overt act in furtherance of the agreement to commit a crime. Examples of such acts of furtherance include the purchase of supplies or materials, visiting or “scoping” the location, or documenting plans for the act. However, in most countries, there is no requirement that any steps be taken to put the conspiracy plan into effort for it to be considered unlawful.

There is no limit on the number of people who might participate in the planning or execution of the conspiracy. In some situations, only two people are required to qualify. In others, small groups or even organized gangs may be involved. In other situations, entire organizations or even military organizations could be involved in the planning and execution of the act.

Conspiracies can take place in relation to any situation. In some cases, the conspiracy may be harmless. Such as a group of employees who conspire to pull a practical joke on a co-worker. However, in most situations, conspiracies are considered to be of a sinister nature and intended to cause harm. Most conspiracies are centered around anti-government or anti-military behavior.



Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized use of material that is covered by copyright law, in a manner that violates one of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works. For electronic and audio-visual media, unauthorized reproduction and distribution is occasionally referred to as piracy.

If you need to research copyright laws, the best place to start is the U.S. Copyright Office. The U.S. Copyright Office website is an excellent resource for learning and understanding copyrighting and related laws.  The United States Copyright website provides an overview of copyright basics, information on the law, and a list of FAQs.  You can also Search the Catalog of records of registered books, music, art, and periodicals, and other works. Includes a review of ownership documents. Private investigators are sometimes hired to investigate such cases. A detective’s primary role in such cases is to gather evidence and proof of infringement.

Crime

Crime can be defined as the breach or breaking of one or more rules or laws for which some governing authority deems as unlawful. While every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law counts as a crime. For example, breaches of contract and of other civil law may rank as “offenses” or as “infractions” but are not considered to be a crime.

The label of “crime” and the accompanying social stigma normally confine their scope to those activities considered to be harmful to the general population or to the state, including crimes that cause serious loss or damage to individuals.

  • An act punishable by law; usually considered an evil act
  • A specific act committed in violation of the law
  • An act in violation of the penal laws of a state or the United States. A positive or negative act in violation of penal law.
  • is defined as any act, default, or conduct prejudicial to the community, the commission of which, by law, renders the person responsible liable to punishment by a fine, imprisonment, or other penalty.

Criminologist

Defendants on Plaintiffs

Detention

Detention, or detaining, of suspects is the process of keeping a person who has been arrested in a jail cell, prison or other detention center before their legal trial or sentencing. Such buildings are often referred to as detention centers or detention facilities. People can also be detained illegally or against their will. In this situation, crimes such as kidnapping or unlawful arrest may occur.

Private detectives may deal with cases that involved individuals that have been detained. Detectives may need to travel to prisons, county jails or other detention facilities to interview witness and suspects to gather information for a case. In some situations, a private detective may need to physically restrain an individual until the police or other law enforcement officials arrive. This is a rare circumstance, but it certainly does happen. It is important to note that a private eye does not have any powers of arrest. See also Kidnapping.

Divorce

Embezzlement

Espionage

Extortion

False imprisonment

False imprisonment is a tort, and possibly a crime. It involves a situation where a person or multiple persons are intentionally confined by another person or persons without legal authority. It entails the restraint of an individual or the obstruction of their freedom without their consent. The imprisonment of another can take many forms, such as:

  • Being tied to a chair or other immovable object
  • Being locked in a room
  • Being locked in a car
  • Being physically held or restrained

The elements of false imprisonment usually involve:

  • The person detained is being held against their will
  • The imprisoned person is unable to move about freely
  • Proof can be provided that the imprisonment was not lawful

False imprisonment can be applicable to private situations as well as government.

Although punishment may vary from country to country, and even state to state, it is generally considered to be a 3rd degree felony, which carries penalties such as: Up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, probation, community service, other penalties as defined by the court. If false imprisonment can be proved, damages may be awarded in civil court.

The term false arrest is sometimes used in relation to false imprisonment, but it actually has a different meaning. Under a false arrest, one person arrests another, but the arresting person does not have legal justification or legal authority to do so. If the arresting person takes the other into custody and restricts their freedom, then it also becomes false imprisonment.



Family Law

Family Law – Includes an overview of Alimony, Child Support and Legal Guardianship

Felony

In the United States (and previously other common law countries) a felony is defined as a serious crime. Felonies are generally considered to be the most serious type of crime. The term felony originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person’s land and goods. Following are examples of some of the more common types of felonies:

  • Homicide, murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Grand theft
  • Grand larceny
  • Drug abuse violations
  • Automobile theft
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse
  • Forgery
  • Counterfeiting

In the United States, where the felony / misdemeanor distinction is still widely applied, the Federal government defines a felony as a crime which involves a potential punishment of one year or longer in prison.

Grand Larceny

Grand larceny is the crime of theft of another’s property (including money) that exceeds a certain value (for example, $500). Grand larceny is distinguished from petty (or petit) larceny in which the value is below the grand larceny limit. Some states only recognize the crime of larceny, but draw the line between a felony (punishable by state prison time) and a misdemeanor (local jail and/or fine) based on the amount of the money.

Involuntary Manslaughter

Involuntary Manslaughter is defined as the crime of killing another human being in an unlawful manner but unintentionally.

Judges and Juries

Juvenile Delinquency

Kidnapping

Larceny

Larceny is a form of theft. Larceny involves the taking and carrying away of personal property without the owner’s consent. The terms ‘petty larceny’ and ‘grand larceny’ refer to the value of items that were taken.

Lawsuit

A lawsuit is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant’s actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff’s complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment will be given in the plaintiff’s favor, and a variety of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act.

A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes. A lawsuit may involve dispute resolution of private law issues between individuals, business entities or non-profit organizations. A lawsuit may also enable the state to be treated as if it were a private party in a civil case, as plaintiff or defendant regarding an injury, or may provide the state with a civil cause of action to enforce certain laws.

  • The conduct of a lawsuit is called litigation
  • One who has a tendency to litigate rather than seek non-judicial remedies is called litigious




Manslaughter

Manslaughter is defined as the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or otherwise in circumstances not resulting in murder.

Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is generally considered to be a “lesser” or minor criminal act. Misdemeanors are generally punished much less severely than felonies. Many misdemeanors are punished with monetary fines and do not involve a prison sentence or jail time to be served.

In the United States, the federal government generally considers a crime punishable with incarceration for one year or less to be a misdemeanor. All other crimes are considered to be felonies. Many states also follow this same view of this type of crime. In some jurisdictions, those who are convicted of a misdemeanor are known as misdemeanants (those convicted of a felony who are known as felons), although the term misdemeanants is rarely used. Depending on the jurisdiction, examples of misdemeanors may include:

  • Petty theft, stealing items of low value
  • Prostitution or selling sexual favors
  • Public intoxication or drunkenness
  • Simple assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Drug possession
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • other similar crimes

In the United States, misdemeanors are crimes with a maximum punishment of 12 months of incarceration. Incarceration typically takes place in a local jail, rather than a state or federal prison facility. In contrast, felons (those who are convicted of committing a felony crime) are usually incarcerated in a state or federal prison. Most often, those convicted of misdemeanors are punished with probation, community service or part-time imprisonment, served on the weekends, pay a monetary fine, or some combination of each.

Mug Shots

  • Mug Shots – Photos taken of arrested individuals

Nolo Contendere

Nolo contendere is a Latin legal term that simply stands for “I do not wish to contend.”  Nolo contendere is also referred to as a plea of “no contest” and is often referred to as “pleading nolo.” In criminal court trials, Nolo contendere is a legal plea made by the defendant who does not admit to committing a criminal charge, nor do they dispute the charge. Entering such a please is considered to be an alternative to pleading to be specifically guilty or not guilty to the criminal charge.

A no-contest plea, which is technically not a guilty plea, is often offered as a part of a plea bargain deal from the prosecutor. It is not always an option to enter such a plea. The state law in which the crime was committed will determine whether the defendant may plead no contest in criminal court cases, so consult your state and local laws to confirm. For more information on the topic, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolo_contendere.

Paralegal

Paralegal is a term used to describe people who assist lawyers in their legal work. The profession originated as an assistant or secretary who provided assistance to lawyers with legal matters, research and related matters. Paralegals are not lawyers, but generally do have knowledge, education and even certification in legal matters and law.

  • Paralegals are not authorized by the government to offer legal services such as those provide by an attorney or lawyer
  • They are not considered to be officers of the court (i.e. considered a formal part of the legal system)
  • They are not usually subject to government or court-sanctioned rules of conduct
  • They work under the direct supervision of a lawyer

Although most jurisdictions recognize paralegals, there is no international consistency regarding the definition, role, status, terms and conditions of employment, paralegal training, regulation or anything else and so each jurisdiction must be looked at individually.

Perjury

Perjury is basically lying in court. Perjury is officially defined as the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding.  The act of perjury can be either spoken or written, but is most commonly committed as part of spoken testimony in a court case.

During court proceedings that involve witnesses, each witness that testifies must swear under oath that they will tell the honest truth. Oaths are taken during court in front of the judge and often in front of a jury. Witnesses are not forced or coerced to take the oath, but it is required. When a witness commits perjury, they falsely promise to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the case.

The exact wording of the oath may vary from country to country, and even from state to state. Following is an example of the typical oath used in the United States: “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” The court bailiff usually swears in the witness and the witness usually places their hand on a bible as they agree to the oath.

When a person is charged and convicted of perjury, they may face criminal charges in the form of a financial fine or, in more serious cases, may serve jail time. Each state has their own laws and penalties regarding this crime.

Petty Larceny

Petty larceny is a term used in many states for theft of a small amount of money or items that have little value (such as less than $500). Petty larceny is considered to be a misdemeanor and is usually punishable at maximum with a term in the county jail. States which only use the term “larceny,” often treat theft of a smaller amounts as a misdemeanor in sentencing.

Racketeering

Restraining Order – A Restraining order is a form of legal injunction that is most commonly used in reference to domestic violence, harassment, stalking or sexual assault. In the United States, each state has some form of domestic violence restraining order law, and many states also have specific laws for stalking and sexual assault. Orders are issued by a state court and may also be referred to as: Protection Order, Order of Protection, Protection from Abuse Order, Police Protection, Protective Order and Peace Bond.

Search and Seizure

Search Warrant

  • Search Warrant – Permission to search a vehicle, house or other property

Sexual Assault

Solicitation

In the United States, solicitation is the name of a crime that consists of a situation where a person offers money or something else of value in order to incite or induce another to commit a crime with the specific intent that the person solicited commit the crime. Basically, it is convincing someone else to do something illegal. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Other definitions of Solicitation include: To entice or incite to take evil or illegal action; To approach or accost (a person) with an offer of sexual services; To make solicitation or petition for something desired; To approach or to accost someone with an offer of sexual services in return for financial. Situations involving solicitation are most common in relation to prostitution. Prostitutes are said to have “solicited” sex.

Statement

A statement is a formal account of the facts related to a case. A statement is given by a witness, defendant or other party related to a case in a court of law.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a legal statute in that sets forth the maximum period of time, after certain events have occurred, that legal proceedings based on those events may be initiated. Basically, what this means is that after a certain length of time, you may not be able to sue someone in a court of law if the limitation has been exceeded. Also, someone may not be prosecuted for a crime after the period has expired. In civil law systems, similar provisions are usually part of the state, city or county civil code or the criminal code and are often known collectively as “periods of prescription” or also “prescriptive periods.” Statutes vary from state to state and depend on the particular situation, so check your local laws to determine what applies in the area in which your case resides.

Subrogation

Subrogation refers to circumstances in which an insurance company tries to recover expenses for an insurance claim it paid when another party was responsible for payment of the insurance claim.  Types of subrogation include:

  • Indemnity insurer’s rights
  • Surety’s rights
  • Rights of business creditors
  • Lender’s rights
  • Banker’s rights

A subrogation clause is a provision in property and liability insurance policies where an insurance company acquires certain rights upon paying an insurance claim of loss under the policy. These rights include the right to take legal action on behalf of the insured party to recover the amount of loss from the party who caused it.  It also includes the right to receive full or partial benefits for the insured. The main purpose of the this particular clause is to prevent the insured party from profiting from having an insurance policy.

Summons

  • Summons (also known as subpoenas)

Suspect

In the United States criminal justice system, the person who is suspected by law enforcement of committing a crime is known as a suspect. Police officers and media reporters often use the term suspect incorrectly when they refer to the actual perpetrator (sometimes called the perp) of the crime or criminal offense. The perpetrator (one who perpetrates) is the person who actually commits the crime. The perpetrator is the thief, the bank robber, the assailant, the illegal counterfeiter, etc. The distinction between suspect and perpetrator is that the suspect is not known to have committed the offense. The person is only “suspected” to have committed the crime, while the perpetrator is the person who actually did.

Possibly because the term suspected is often misused to mean perpetrator, police officers have begun to use “person of interest” to mean suspect. In the United States judicial system, once a decision is approved to arrest a suspect or hand them over for a legal trial, the suspect is then called either the defendant or generally referred to as “the accused.” The arrest can be requested by a legal prosecutor who issues a warrant, a grand jury issuing a true bill or indictment, or a judge issuing an official arrest warrant. Only after a person is convicted of a crime can they be properly called the perpetrator.

Testimony

Legal testimony – legal testimony is a form of evidence that is obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of fact. Testimony may be oral or written, and it is usually made by oath or affirmation under penalty of perjury. Unless a witness is testifying as an expert witness, testimony in the form of opinions or inferences is generally limited to those opinions or inferences that are rationally based on the perceptions of the witness and are helpful to a clear understanding of the witness’ testimony.

Expert testimony – An expert witness provides their opinion about facts and conclusions within their field of expertise.

Private investigators are sometimes called upon to testify in a court of law. They may be summoned to provide evidence and testimony regarding information they uncovered during the course of an investigations. Private eyes find themselves testifying in court in relation to divorce investigations and marital infidelity.

Theft

Theft, in its simplest terms is stealing. Theft occurs when a person takes, or steals, property or items that do not belong to them.  Theft is often used as an informal term for crimes against property, such as:

  • Burglary– usually involves breaking into someone’s home or car and stealing items
  • Embezzlement– occurs when individuals steal money or property from a business, usually a business they work for
  • Larceny– Taking another persons property away
  • Looting – occurs most often during times of natural disaster or rioting, where individuals enter homes or businesses and remove items or property that does not belong to them
  • Robbery – this type of theft usually occurs at gun point, or with the threat of harm
  • Shoplifting – occurs when property is illegally removed from a business
  • Fraud – fraud usually involves a plot or scheme to steal money or property from an individual or a group of people
  • Criminal conversion

In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, the crime of theft has replaced that of larceny. Someone who carries out an act of or makes a career of theft is known as a thief. The act of theft is known by many other terms, such as stealing, robbing, and jacking.

Tort

A tort is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else. It is differentiated from a crime, which involves a breach of a duty owed to society in general. The term “tort” is derived from the Latin word “tortum” which means crooked or something twisted. The acts of nuisance, negligence, defamation, assault , trespass, property damage are considered to be torts. Some are also considered to be crimes and are punishable with imprisonment.

The primary goal of this law is to provide the victim with the relief from the damages and to serve as an example to deter others from committing this type of crime. In case of the tort the injured person may also be sued for monetary damages and injunction to prevent the tortuous act. In addition, the injured party may recover some kind of damages like reasonable medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss or earnings during that period. Torts can be generally classified into three categories:

  • Intentional– In this case, an act is done intentionally to harm someone. In this situation, the defendant is aware, or should have been reasonably aware, that the action or inaction could prove to be harmful to others.
  • Negligent– These normally occur when the actions of the defendant are considered to be unsafe.
  • Strict Liability– These types of torts generally apply to defective products.

Though many acts can be considered to be both torts and crimes, prosecutions for crime are mostly the responsibility of the state, private prosecutions are rarely used; whereas any party who has been injured may bring a lawsuit for tort. In tort law it is important for the plaintiff to show that harm has been caused. Someone who commits a tortious act is known as a tortfeasor. The equivalent of tort in civil law jurisdictions is delict.

Wire Tapping

Related Information

  • If you need legal forms related to any of the above, see a full list of legal forms at Nolo.com.
  • Also, see our list of Acronyms related to the legal field, law enforcement and the investigation industry.

Online Dictionaries and Glossaries for Research

Private investigators spend a large proportion of their time conducting research, both in the physical sense and in searching for information and data.  Understanding the origin, meaning and pronunciation of words will help you become more adept at conducting research.

That is where online dictionaries and glossaries come in handy. Online dictionaries and glossaries are designed to make it easy to quickly look up words, find the meaning, associated words, synonyms, antonyms, rhyming words, and more more. Nearly everything there is to know about a word, it’s origin and history is available via a quick online search. Also, many of the more popular sites have software apps that put the data right at your fingertips.

Following are online dictionaries and glossaries for looking up words, acronyms, abbreviations and more.

    • Acronym Finder – The Acronym Finder is a searchable database of more than 369,000 abbreviations and acronyms about computers, technology, telecommunications, and military acronyms and abbreviations.
    • CEO Express – Executive Gateway to the Internet. Provides a large number of categorized links to a wide variety of resources.
    • Dictionary: One Look – One Look dictionary search tool. Use this tool to find the meaning of words.
    • Information Please – Information Please is part of Pearson Education, the largest educational publisher in the world and owner of Prentice Hall, Scott Foresman, Addison Wesley Longman, and other distinguished imprints. Pearson also owns Athe Financial Times and Penguin Putnam publishers.
    • Internet Library for Librarians – Internet Library for Librarians provides links to more than 4,000 resources. All the resources are recommended, selected, and reviewed by librarians. Each entry has a full description of the goals and /or scope of the resource, as well as the contact information if provided. Internet Library for Librarians is a handy and useful tool for both novices and experienced library staff.
    • Investor Words – Launched in 1999, InvestorWords is the premier financial glossary on the web, helping millions of individuals understand and keep up-to-date with the terms that they need to know in order to succeed in today’s financial world.
  • Marketing Dictionary – Internet marketing reference and index of the best sites & articles
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary – Merriam-Webster is America’s foremost publisher of language-related reference works. The company publishes a diverse array of print and electronic products, including Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition—America’s best-selling desk dictionary—and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged.
  • Resource Centers – Library of Congress research and reference information. The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.
  • Technical Dictionary – whatis.com® is a knowledge exploration and self-education tool about information technology, especially about the Internet and computers. It contains over 4,500 individual encyclopedic definition/topics, a number of “Fast Reference” pages and learning tools. The topics contain about 12,000 hyperlinked cross-references between definition-topics and to other sites for further information. The site is constantly updated.
  • Thesaurus – Thesaurus.com is produced by Lexico Publishing Group, a leading provider of language reference products and services on the Internet.  To use the thesaurus, simply type a word in the gold search box and click the ‘Search’ button. A list of synonyms and antonyms will be returned.
  • Webopedia – The only online dictionary and search engine you need for computer and Internet technology definitions.
  • Your Dictionary – yourDictionary.com is a language products and services company that maintains the most comprehensive and authoritative language portal on the web with more than 2500 dictionaries and grammars in over 300 languages, games that build language skills, and a forum (The Agora) for discussing language issues with the logophile community.




If you have any questions about this glossary of investigation terms, please leave a comment below.

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