Ejusdem generis (ee-joose-dem gen-ris) is a Latin phrase that means “of the same kind.” The statutory and constitutional construction principle of “ejusdem generis” states that where general words or phrases follow a number of specific words or phrases, the general words are specifically construed as limited and apply only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those expressly mentioned. For example, if a law refers to automobiles, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, and other motor-powered vehicles, a court might use ejusdem generis to hold that such vehicles would not include airplanes, because the list included only land-based transportation.
Ejusdem generis is an interpretive guide for a contract under New York law. The rule is used only to help determine whether there is intent; if intent is found, ejusdem generis does not subvert intent.
[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]