Ejusdem generis

A rule of interpretation for contracts, statutes, estate documents, and other instruments to the effect that where general words follow a list of particular things, the general words are restricted to matters of the same kind as those specifically listed. Ejusdem generis is Latin for ‘of the same kind’. This rule can be read as an extension of the principle of statutory interpretation noscitur a sociis; that is, that the meaning of a word/s should be determined from the surrounding or accompanying words.

For example, if a law or contract referred to “cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, and other motor vehicles”, the rule of ejusdem generis may be applied to interpret the scope of ‘other motor vehicles’ to refer to only land-based motor vehicles, because the initial list did not include mention to any air or water-based motor vehicles.