Glossary of Legal Terms – O





This glossary should not be relied upon as legal advice. It is provided for general informational purposes only. To properly advise on any given situation requires a knowledge of the facts surrounding that situation. Laws and the statutory definitions of terms will vary from state to state. Specific questions should be directed to an attorney licensed in your state.

Oath: Written or oral pledge by a person to keep a promise or speak the truth.

Obiter Dictum: Remark by a judge in a legal opinion that is irrelevant to the decision and does not establish precedent . Often used in the plural, dicta.

Objection to claim: An objection filed in a bankruptcy case requesting the court to deny a creditor’s claim or the creditor’s characterization of it as secured, priority, or other.

Objection to discharge: An objection filed requesting the court to prohibit the discharge of a particular debt, or to deny the debtor a discharge as to all of the debts.

Objection to exemption: An objection filed in a bankruptcy case requesting the court to deny a debtor’s claim of exemption in property.

Objection: A request to the court to determine that a line of questioning, procedure, or evidence is improper and should not be received by the court.

Obligor/Obligee: The person who has an obligation is the obligor. The person to whom this obligation is owed is the obligee.

Obstruction Of Justice: The act or attempt to impede justice or a judicial proceeding, often by officials who have a duty to administer justice.

Occupational Disease: An illness resulting from long-term employment in a particular type of work, such as those employees exposed to asbestos, who later develops cancer.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA): A body of laws consisting of safety and health standards intended to prevent employees from being injured or contracting illnesses in the course of their employment.

Occupational therapy: Therapy designed to enable the individual to work with their arms and hands.

Of Counsel: An attorney assisting in the preparation or management of a case, but who is not the primary attorney of record.

Offer of Proof: An offer of evidence that has been ruled by the court to be inadmissible made for the purpose of establishing an appellate record.

Offer: An expressed willingness to enter into a contract or to perform an act.

On a Person’s Own Recognizance: Release of a person from custody without the payment of any bail or posting of bond, upon the promise to return to court.

Online real estate listings:   Properties listed for sale on the Internet.

Open Court: A court that is actively engaged in the administration of justice; before the judge.

Open house:   A marketing tool in which a listing agent opens a house for view.

Open listing:   A property given to a number of brokers to market at the same time.

Open space:   Undeveloped land or common areas in a planned community reserved for parks, walking paths or other natural uses.

Opening Statement: The initial statement made by attorneys for each side, outlining the facts each intends to establish during the trial.

Operation Of Law: A right or entitlement arising under the law and not as a result of agreement.

Opinion: Written statement by a judge or court of the decision in a case which describes the law applied to the facts of the case and the reasons for the decision.

Option: A continuing offer to sell which must be accepted by the optionee within terms of the option, and if not accepted within the time specified, the right to do so is lost.

Option:   A situation in which a buyer puts down money for the right to purchase a piece of real estate within a set time period but does not have an obligation to buy.

Oral agreement:   Contractual arrangements that are not in writing and are usually not legally binding.

Oral Argument: An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position before the court and also to answer the judges’ questions.

Order To Show Cause: A directive from the court instructing a party to appear before it and demonstrate why such party took or failed to take an action and why a penalty should not be assessed against such party.

Order: Written direction or command made by a court or judge, and not included in a judgment. See also decree.

Ordinance: Commonly, a regulation passed by a municipal legislative body.

Original jurisdication: The first court to which a legal dispute is referred.

Original principal balance:   The amount of principal owed on a loan before a borrower makes any payments.

Origination fee:   A fee charged by most lenders–also called points–for processing a loan. A point is 1 percent of the total loan amount.

Out-of-Court Settlement: An agreement reached between a plaintiff and a defendant to resolve a lawsuit privately and without a judge’s authorization or approval.

Out-Of-Pocket Expenses: Costs necessarily incurred to prosecute a civil case or to protect rights or property pending a court’s determination.

Overhang:   A protruding structural feature.

Overrule: To find an objection raised to be invalid; to overturn or invalidate a prior decision or holding.

Overt Act: An open, outward act which demonstrates intent or design.

Owner financing:   A transaction in which the seller of a property agrees to finance all or part of the purchase

Oxycodone Hydrochloride: This drug is categorized as an agonist opioid, a powerful group of analgesics that work by blocking signals to pain receptors in the brain. A synthetic narcotic derived from opium-producing poppy plants, oxycodone HCL has properties similar to morphine and is classified as a Schedule II drug, which means that it can be legally prescribed but has a high potential for abuse. Oxycodone HCL is also an active ingredient in the following drugs: Percocet, Percodan, and Tylox.

Oxycontin: A powerful prescription pain reliever prescribed for patients suffering from moderate to severe chronic pain. Oxycontin tablets contain anywhere from 10-160mg of oxycodone hydrochloride, an agonist opioid that blocks signals to pain receptors in the brain. Oxycontin pills are manufactured with a controlled release mechanism that extends pain relief for up to twelve hours.