Legal Definition and Related Resources of Aids

Meaning of Aids

In English law. A species of tax payable by the tenant of lands to his superior lord on the happening of certain events. They were originally mere benevolences granted to the lord in certain times of danger and distress, but soon came to be claimed as a right. They were originally given in three cases only, and were of uncertain amount. For a period they were demanded in additional cases, but this abuse was corrected by Magna Charta (of John) and St. 25 Edw. I. (confirmatio chartarum) , and they were made payable only, to ransom the lord’s person, when taken prisoner; to make the lord’s eldest son a knight; to marry the lord’s eldest daughter, by griving her a suitable portion. The first of these remained uncertain; the other two were fixed by act of parliament (25 Edw.

What does Aids mean in American Law?

The definition of Aids in the law of the United States, as defined by the lexicographer Arthur Leff in his legal dictionary is:

Payments (regulated by Magna Charta, and abolished in 1660) made by feudal tenants to their lords, perhaps once voluntarily but at least as early as the reign of Henry 11 (1154-1189) considered due as of right in several categories: to ransom the lord from captivity; to pay the expenses of knighting the lord’s eldest son, and to get up a dowry for his eldest daughter; and (somewhat later) to help out in paying the aids extracted by the lord’s own lords. (During the feudal period powerful lords would sometime get away with other aids, e.g., for paying his debts in general.) See also fifteenths. Extraordinary grants voted by the House of Commons to the Crown

were also called “aids,” and parliamentary taxes continued to be so called until 1688.

Legal Usage of Aids in English

An European Commission document offers the following explanation about the misused of Aids:The word ‘aid’ is usually uncountable (see introduction) in the meaning given here (=assistance, which is also uncountable) and should only be used in the singular. With an ‘-s’, it is commonly used to refer to a disease (AIDS) or to devices that help you do something (e.g. ‘hearing aids’ or ‘teaching aids’). Significantly, of the 3,23215 examples of the word ‘aids’ included in the British National Corpus, nearly all those used to mean ‘assistance’ come from European Union sources.


‘State aids — Decisions to propose appropriate measures pursuant to Article 108(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union where the Member State concerned has accepted those measures16.’


aid, subsidies.


Legal English Vocabulary: Aids in Spanish

Online translation of the English legal term aids into Spanish: SIDA (English to Spanish translation) . More about legal dictionary from english to spanish online.

Related to the Legal Thesaurus


Further Reading

  • David Mellinkoff, “Mellinkoff’s Dictionary of American Legal Usage”, West Publishing Company, 1992
  • Bryan A. Garner, “A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage”, West Publishing Company, 1995


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