Legal English UK: Blog: Doublets and Triplets

What are doublets and triplets?

Doublets and triplets are everywhere in Legal English. What are they and should I be using them?

Legal English Skills for Law

Borrowed vocabulary

Legal English borrows many words from hundreds of languages. It is mainly made up of old English, Danish, Latin, French (about 30% or so) with smatterings of Japanese words, Greek words and Dutch words thrown in among others.


If you take the word meeting, there are dozens of synonyms available such as convention, rendenzvous, powwow and more. As lawyers and contract writers tend to be cautious, they felt that using every possible word in their legal documents would make their documents watertight.


Legal Doublets and Triplets

This is why we have doublets: two words that mean the same thing but that partner up in legal documents to show that all avenues are covered. We also have triplets (three words that do the same work). Luckily, doublets are far more common and easier to remember. Here is a list of some of the more common legal doublets:


aid and abet - to assist

all and sundry - everybody

armed and dangerous - armed with a weapon and willing to use it

assault and battery - assault

breaking and entering - entering a property without permission

care and attention - care

cease and desist - stop

covenant and agree - agree

deem and consider - consider

due and payable - to be paid

fit and proper - decent

goods and chattels - goods (chattels is an old-fashioned word)

have and hold - used in marriage

heirs and successors - heirs

law and order

legal and valid

null and void - void

over and above - more than usual

part and parcel - part of

perform and discharge - to do

signed and sealed - signed

sole and exclusive - exclusive rights

terms and conditions - terms

will and testament - will


If you memorise those legal doublets, you will know the most common terms still being used in legal English today. Don't forget to contact Legal English UK if you need more information about learning Legal English and Business English skills with the world's best teachers. Watch the video below for more information on legal doublets and triplets.