Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

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de minimis non curat lex


the law is not concerned with minimal things

This several centuries old legal phrase refers to the idea that minor complaints are not (or, should not be) addressed by legal proceedings. From wiki:

De minimis is a Latin expression meaning “pertaining to minimal things”, normally in the terms de minimis non curat praetor (“The praetor does not concern himself with trifles”) or de minimis non curat lex (“The law does not concern itself with trifles”), a legal doctrine by which a court refuses to consider trifling matters. Queen Christina of Sweden (r. 1633–1654) favoured the similar Latin adageaquila non capit muscās (the eagle does not catch flies).

The legal history of de minimis dates back to the 15th century.

The general term has come to have a variety of specialised meanings in various contexts, which indicate that beneath a certain low level a quantity is regarded as trivial, and treated commensurately.

How then does one determine when something is a trifle? That’s a more difficult question. You might need to hire an attorney, or file a lawsuit, to figure that out.

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