Definition of nullity in English:



  • 1Law
    An act or thing that is legally void.

    • ‘The Board intended to make a final disposition but that disposition is a nullity.’
    • ‘Is there not law that the orders of a superior court, as the Federal Court is by statute, are not nullities but are voidable and are valid as between the parties until set aside?’
    • ‘The fact is the bankruptcy notice was a nullity.’
    • ‘It is submitted that the certificates of default on the two recognizances in question are nullities because the justices failed to set out the reason for the default.’
    • ‘The plaintiff's solicitors believed that proceedings were a nullity and started new proceedings.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]The state of being legally void or invalid, especially with reference to a marriage.
      • ‘A decree of nullity is a declaration that the marriage never existed.’
      • ‘Canon law did not permit divorce as distinct from annulment (although the term divorce was used even when nullity was in issue).’
      • ‘In March 1999, the High Court refused a decree of nullity to a man whose wife had an affair with her employer shortly after the marriage.’
      • ‘I speak of the trial of actions including petitions for divorce or nullity in the High Court.’
      • ‘The number of nullity applications dropped by more than 70 per cent, from 941 in 1978 to 267 in 1998.’
      • ‘The general principle of Community law is that nullity is retroactive: once the act is annulled under Article 230 it is void ab initio.’
      • ‘Whenever the court has jurisdiction in the main proceedings for divorce, nullity or judicial separation, then it also has jurisdiction to order such variations.’
      • ‘A nullity application can be brought at any stage after marriage - but the sooner, the better.’
      • ‘I note that the Husband did not make any allegation of non-consummation in his cross petition nor did he seek a decree of nullity.’
      • ‘That to my mind is the distinction between invalidity and nullity.’
      • ‘In other cases the courts have struggled against the draconian result of nullity.’
      • ‘Last year, the court received 3,293 applications for divorce - and just 86 nullity applications.’
      • ‘It can no longer be polygamous; the wife's consent is now required; divorce, originally precluded, is now authorized; and nullity for lack of age is recognized.’
      • ‘Nullity proceedings are nowadays rare, though not wholly extinct.’
      • ‘In Ireland, the number of nullity decrees had been rising inexorably before divorce was introduced.’
      • ‘As I have indicated Mr Spence says that the case is authority for the general proposition that it is always open to a defendant to such proceedings to allege nullity in the notice as a defence.’
      • ‘If the proper procedures were not followed, you may be entitled to a nullity decree.’
      • ‘Should nullity proceedings be abolished and replaced by divorce?’
      • ‘From June 15, 2000 the exemption also applies to couples who have a decree of nullity or a deed of separation.’
      • ‘In 1981, eight nullity decrees were granted.’
      invalidity, non-validity
      View synonyms
  • 2A thing of no importance or worth.

    • ‘Bert Archer's op-ed piece made some valid points but he lost my support when he made the statement ‘an animal, whether farmed or domestic, is a moral nullity.’’
    • ‘In columns like this one he has mastered the art of simultaneously talking out of both sides of his mouth in words that add up to a nullity.’
    • ‘I find myself arguing with nearly everything he says and does and thinks and believes, but he's not one of those angry nullities animated by hate and contempt.’
    • ‘Commitment to fight corruption would be a nullity if the government fails to create an enabling environment for the media to expose and report on corruption.’
    • ‘But then maybe those people on the lower tier are just " moral nullities " too.’
    • ‘For some, there was fascism, a desperate escape from the nullity that was all that democracy seemed able to offer.’
    • ‘His big angle is the trigger mechanism - which has gotten almost no political traction, and which most observers now agree is a practical nullity.’
    • ‘As I've said before, you can't assimilate with a nullity - which is what multiculturalism is.’
    • ‘On a matter deemed vital to the national interest of the United States, the UN should be used by the United States for whatever use it may be and otherwise considered a nullity.’
    • ‘Terse Bush certainly is, but unlike Beatty, I don't think he is a nullity.’
    • ‘But he hasn't been unclear; he's been crystal clear, albeit in stating a nullity - the party has no position.’
    1. 2.1[mass noun]Nothingness.
      • ‘We associate black with nullity, with the void that is deep space, but here it is given the identity of a black goddess giving birth: simultaneously humanized and exalted.’
      • ‘And he expressly asserts the entire nullity of the influence of all the Homoeopathic remedies tried by him in modifying, so far as he could observe, the progress or termination of the diseases.’
      • ‘In that sense, he is the perfect embodiment of the nullity of the modern Democratic Party.’
      • ‘Even its delayed new building reflects the nullity as official auditors rubbish the assembly's claim that Richard Rogers's design would be too expensive.’
      oblivion, non-existence, non-being, non-life
      View synonyms


Mid 16th century: from French nullité, from medieval Latin nullitas, from Latin nullus none.