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What Does "Inter Alia" Mean?

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  • Written By: Elise Czajkowski
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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Inter alia literally means "among other things." It is a Latin phrase often used in a legal context and indicates that the example given or item listed is only one of a number of examples or items. Though often found in legal documents, the expression is not a technical legal term but may used in general contexts as well.

Suppose that Person A files a lawsuit against his or her neighbor, Person B, claiming that Person B is encroaching on Person A's property. There may be many small examples of how Person B has done this. While all the allegations against Person B would be fully detailed and explained in the lawsuit, it might be impractical to list all the grievances in certain documents. In this case, the document might say something like, "Person B violated Person A's property rights by, inter alia, placing a fence on the Person A's property."

The use of the phrase inter alia also implies that the examples listed are not necessarily representative of every other possible example. A document may refer to a person's criminal record by saying, "Person C was convicted of several misdemeanor charges, inter alia, driving with a suspended license." In this case, the other misdemeanor charges may be completely unrelated to driving or to the suspended license. The use of the words inter alia indicates that this is only one example and is not necessarily representative of all the charges.

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In legal documents, the term is almost always found in the middle of a sentence, between commas. It may italicized to indicate that it is not an English expression. As the term is commonly used in legal documents, it is unlikely to be defined or explained within them.

Other, more general uses of the term include inter alia mortgage. An inter alia mortgage is one in which several pieces of property secure one loan. The phrase may also be used in formal meetings or business situations to refer to one of many things. In meeting minutes, it may be used to remind a reader that a piece of text is only part of a larger record.

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