"scire facias" in OED 1989

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Sep 1 23:23:26 UTC 2009

scire facias = "A judicial writ, requiring the sheriff to do the
party concerned to wit that he should come before the Court to 'show
cause' why execution should not be taken against him, or why letters
patent, such as a charter, should not be revoked." [OED 2nd ed. 1989]

Does "to do the party concerned to wit" convey anything today?  (Or
even in the 1890s?)  I concede that "scire facias" means in "Law
Latin" "do (him) to wit" (quoting the OED), but surely one can do
better in the definition.  For one, who is "the party concerned" and
who is the "he' that follows?  (I suspect they are not the same
persons, but that's in part why I'm looking up the definition of
"scire facias".)


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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