It is a principle of interpreting statutes which states that a general word should be interpreted in the context of specific words used in the same legislation.


For example, a clause in a tenancy agreement permitting tenants to rear only a particular class of animals reads in part this way “… tenants can rear goats, fowls, ducks, dogs and other animals.” This rule will not permit any tenant to bring a baby crocodile into the premises while relying on the above clause. “Other animals” constitutes a general word which must be interpreted restrictively to mean domestic animals like the particular ones mentioned.
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