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Latin for “nothing,” nihil is a clipping of the Latin word nihilum. The contraction form of nihil, nil, also often appears in legal contexts.

Nihil appears in a number of Latin legal terms, such as nihil dicit (“he says nothing”), nihil est (“there is nothing”), and nihil habet (“he has nothing”). In some legal terms, nil and nihil are interchangeable, such as in nihil dicit default judgment, which is often referred to as nil dicit default judgment.

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]