2. • Means of the same kind.
• Normally, general words should be given their
natural meaning like all other words unless
the context requires otherwise.
• But when a general word follows specific
words of distinct category, the general word
may be given a restricted meaning of the
3. • Drafters commonly use a series of terms
followed by a general phrase intended as a
• Courts construe that catch all phrase as
restricted to cases that share common
characteristics with the specific terms to
which it is linked.
• The basis of the principle of Ejusdem Generis
is that if the legislature intended general
words to be used in unrestricted sense, it
would not have bothered to use particular
words at all.
4. R. v. Edmundson (1859) 28 L.J.M.C. 213
• It was stated by Lord Campbell "Where there were general
words following particular and specific words, the general
words must be confined to things of the same kind as those
specified." By applying this rule the presumed intention of
the Legislature is used to restrict the ambit of wide and
general expressions. And therefore the ejusdem
generis rule is applied when
(a) the statute contains an enumeration of specific words
(b) the general term follows the enumeration
(c) there is no indication of a different legislative intent.
(d) the subjects of the enumeration constitute a class or
(e) that class or category is not exhausted by the
5. • Eg.
In an Act dealing with the slaughter of animals
for food for human consumption, the expression
“cows, goats, sheep and other animals”
Whether the following animals are cover under
the above expression:
1. Cats and Dogs
3. Wild animals
4. Horse flesh
6. • It does not extend to cats or dogs, as these are
not commonly eaten, or to poultry, as these
do not have the same physical characteristics
as those listed, or to wild animals that are
hunted for their meat. But in places where
horse flesh is used for human food, it may be
construed to cover horses.
8. Which of the following foods the Act covers?
Burger Toast Candy
9. • The ejusdum generis rule requires you to
interpret the general words of the same kind
as the specific words.
• So all the specific words(bacon, sausage, fried
eggs) are breakfast related words….because
its not common to have a burger or candy for
breakfast, those items are not covered by this
• McBoyle transported a plane that he knew to
be stolen from Ottawa, Illinois to Guymon,
• He was accused of violating the National
Motor Vehicle Theft Act.
The statute stated that “[t]he term ‘motor
vehicle ’ shall include an automobile,
automobile truck, automobile wagon,
motor cycle, or any other self-propelled
vehicle not designed for running on rails.”
13. • McBoyle claimed that since the act did not
specifically mention aircraft, it did not apply to
14. • The District Court held that “any other
self-propelled vehicle not designed for
running on rails” includes airplanes.
• Airplanes are self-propelled and not
designed for running on rails.
• McBoyle appealed to the Supreme Court
• Opinion by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “No doubt
etymologically it is possible to use the word to signify a
conveyance working on land, water or air …
• But in everyday speech ‘vehicle’ calls up the picture of
a thing moving on land. So here, the phrase under
discussion calls up the popular picture. For after
including automobile truck, automobile wagon and
motor cycle, the words ‘ any other self-propelled
vehicle not designed for running on rails’ still indicate
a vehicle in the popular sense, that is a vehicle
running on land is the theme. It is a vehicle that runs,
not something, not commonly called a vehicle, that
flies. Airplanes were well known in 1919 when this
statute was passed, but it is admitted that they were
not mentioned in the reports or in the debates in
17. • Bugaiski shot a dog he claimed was attacking his own dog.
He was prosecuted under the dog law of 1919. Defenses:
– “Any person . . . may kill any dog which he sees in the act
of pursuing, worrying, or wounding any livestock or poultry
or attacking persons, and there shall be no liability on such
person, in damages or otherwise, for such killing.”
– “ Livestock ” means horses, stallions, colts, geldings,
mares, sheep, rams, lambs, bulls, bullocks, steers, cows,
calves, mules, jacks, jennets, burros, goats, kids and
swine, and fur-bearing animals being raised in captivity.
18. Horse -a solid-hoofed plant-eating domesticated mammal
with a flowing mane and tail, used for riding, racing, and
to carry and pull loads.
Stallions - an uncastrated adult male horse
Colts - A colt is a male horse, usually
below the age of four years.
Gelding - A gelding is a castrated horse or other equine,
such as a donkey or a mule.
19. Mare-A broodmare is a mare used for breeding.
Sheep-A farm animal with thick wool that eats grass and
is kept for its wool, skin, and meat
Rams- an uncastrated male sheep
Lamb- A young sheep
20. Bull-an uncastrated male bovine animal.
Bullocks-a male domestic bovine animal that has been
castrated and is raised for beef
Cow-a fully grown female animal of a domesticated breed
of ox, kept to produce milk or beef.
Steers-an ox less than four years old.
21. Jack- male of ass or donkey
Calves-the young of the domestic cow or other bovine animal.
Mule-the offspring of a donkey and a horse.
Jennet-a kind of small Spanish horse.
22. Burro- a small donkey used as a pack animal
Goat-a hardy domesticated ruminant mammal
that has backward-curving horns and (in the
male) a beard.
Goat- a young goat
Pig-another name for a pig
• whether the Legislature intended that dogs be
included within the definition of “livestock” as
part of the category “fur-bearing animals
being raised in captivity.”
• We conclude dogs were not included within the
definition of “livestock” as part of the category “fur-
bearing animals being raised in captivity.”
• The fact the Legislature listed “fur-bearing” animals as
a separate category within the laundry list of
“livestock” indicates a specific intent to distinguish
these animals from the rest of the list on the basis of
their fur-bearing characteristic, presumably at least in
partial recognition of the commercial value of furs.
Dogs are not so distinguished.
• Moreover, the deliberate use of the modifying phrase
“being raised in captivity” implies the fur-bearing
animals contemplated in the category are not normally
held in captivity. Again, dogs do not belong in this
• The Betting Act 1853 made it an offence to
keep a house, office, room or other place for
the purposes of betting.
• The House of Lords had to decide if the
statute applied to Tattersall's enclosure at
Kempton Park Racecourse.
The court applied the ejusdem generis
rule and held that the other items mentioned
in the statute related to places indoors
whereas Tattersall's enclosure was outside.
There was thus no offence committed.