The Washington Post currently has a headline “Taking liberties with law and word — a surreply to Rob Weiner”.
None of the standard online dictionaries defines it, although the amateur Wikitionary does, and U.S.Legal defines it as a hyphenated term: Sur-reply is an additional reply to a motion filed after the motion has already been fully briefed. For example, a legal document such as a motion is filed by one party (filing party) requesting the court to enter an order. The other party (responding party) responds to the motion. The filing party then replies to the responding party’s response. Some courts allow the responding party to file a sur-reply to the filing party’s reply to the responding party’s response.
The meaning of sur- is widely understood, and it seems like a useful term. I predict that this word will explode in popularity, and a Google Watch will prove entertaining. At least, to those of us whose pulse climbs at seeing grass grow or paint dry.
As for the article itself, when lawyers become language lawyers, it becomes a cross between programmers arguing what the best text editor is, Bill Clinton explaining that it depends on what the meaning of is is. I recommend locating a freshly-painted park bench instead.
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