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Ejusdem generis: Definition, Example and Related Terms

What is a Ejusdem generis ?

Ejusdem generis is a Latin phrase that means 'of the same kind or class'. It is a rule that is used when interpreting contracts, laws, and rules. The rule says that when a list of specific items is followed by general terms, then the general terms should be understood as being limited to the same kind as the specific items. This rule is used to help make the meaning of contracts, laws, and rules more clear.


  • Scenario Description
    A business contract includes a clause that says the company will provide the client with 'books, magazines, newspapers, and other materials'. In this scenario, ejusdem generis would suggest that 'other materials' should be understood to mean other types of reading materials, not just any type of material. This interpretation helps make the contract more specific and clear.
    A software license agreement states that the user is not allowed to 'copy, distribute, sell, or otherwise use' the software. Here, ejusdem generis would suggest that 'otherwise use' should be understood as other kinds of uses similar to copying, distributing, and selling. So, it might include actions like modifying or reverse engineering the software.