Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of preponderance


  1. A word describing evidence that persuades a judge or jury to lean to one side as opposed to the other during the course of litigation. In many states, criminal trials require evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. But in civil trials, evidence is required only by preponderance of the evidence. The judge (or jury, where applicable) will perceive the evidence of one side as outweighing the other based on which side has the most persuasive or impressive evidence. The strength or "weight" of evidence is not decided by the sheer number of witnesses because the judge decides on the credibility of witnesses and give their testimony weight accordingly. The side with the preponderance of evidence wins the case.

Definition of preponderance


    From Latin praeponderare (“outweigh”), from prae- (“before”) + ponderare (“to weigh”)


preponderance (uncountable)

  1. Excess or superiority of weight, influence, or power, etc.; an outweighing.

    * 2000, Paul Van Slambrouck, “Californias brightest star is, well, gray”, Christian Science Monitor:
    Subtle, institutional discrimination was evident in the preponderance of blacks and underprivileged whites fighting the war.

    * 1900, Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Avon Books, (translated by James Strachey) pg. 168:
    But even less disgruntled observers have insisted that pain and un-pleasure are more common in dreams than pleasure: for instance, Scholz (1893, 57), Volkelt (1875, 80), and others. Indeed two ladies, Florence Hallam and Sarah Weed (1896, 499), have actually given statistical expression, based on a study of their own dreams, to the preponderance of unpleasure in dreaming.

  2. (obsolete) The excess of weight of that part of a cannon behind the trunnions over that in front of them.
  3. The greater portion of the weight.

    * 2006 1/24, Scott Baldauf, “India history spat hits US”, Christian Science Monitor:
    the preponderance of evidence shows that Aryans came to India, with their horses, their chariots, and their religious beliefs, from outside.

  4. The majority.

    * 1997 8/17, Patricia Holt, “Just Add Sand; Trash fiction for end-of-the summer beach reading”, San Francisco Chronicle, page 1:
    Is there a preponderance of female protagonists in commercial fiction, and if so, what does it mean?


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     scienter
2.     quorum
3.     AORO
4.     Miranda warning
5.     lex causae
6.     lex patriae
7.     lex domicilii
8.     adjudication order
9.     appellant
10.     stare decisis