AskDefine | Define gravamen

User Contributed Dictionary



  • IPA: /grǝ'veımɛn/


gravare to load



gravamen (plural gravamens)
  1. The grievance complained of; the substantial cause of the action; also, in general, the ground or essence of a complaint.

Extensive Definition

Gravamen (from Lat. gravare, to weigh down; gravis, heavy), (plural gra·va·mens or gra·vam·i·na), a complaint or grievance, the ground of a legal action, and particularly the more serious part of a charge against an accused person. In legal terms, the essential element of a lawsuit.
In English the term is used chiefly in legal submissions and judicial opinions.
The term is also used in ecclesiastical cases, being the technical designation of a memorial presented from the Lower to the Upper House of Convocation, setting forth grievances to be redressed, or calling attention to breaches in church discipline.


gravamen in Danish: Gravamina
gravamen in German: Gravamen
gravamen in Polish: Gravamen

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

axiom, bench mark, best part, better part, body, bulk, cardinal point, center, chief thing, climax, core, cornerstone, crisis, critical point, crux, elixir, essence, essential, essential matter, flower, focus, fundamental, generality, gist, great point, heart, high point, hypostasis, important thing, inner essence, issue, kernel, keystone, landmark, main body, main point, main thing, major part, majority, marrow, mass, material point, meat, milestone, most, nub, nucleus, nuts and bolts, pith, pivot, plurality, postulate, principle, quid, quiddity, quintessence, real issue, salient point, sap, sine qua non, soul, spirit, stuff, substance, substantive point, the bottom line, the nitty-gritty, the point, thrust, turning point
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