I was having an argument with a friend recently. He proposed some middle ground and then said "Can you stipulate to that?"
Being a low-level grammar fascist, I forgot about the original argument and started a new one about his usage of "stipulate." He used it as if it's interchangeable with the word "agree."
While some thesauri show "agree" as a synonym of "stipulate", none show "stipulate" as a synonym of "agree." I think this is an important distinction.
In the end, I feel he was trying to add weight to his argument by throwing in a twenty-five cent word. This might impress other people he deals with, but I actually read books and stuff from time to time. It just felt wrong, but I am open to the idea that maybe I haven't spent enough time in legal settings to be comfortable with this usage of the word.

I believe he is wrong and that, after the terms of an agreement are proposed, it is the terms themselves that do the stipulating, not the people. To stipulate is the act of negotiating the terms, not the act of agreeing to the terms. Once the terms are agreed upon, it is the terms that "stipulate", not the people under contract. Thus, you can't ask someone "do you stipulate?"... if you have reached the point of agreement, you are now beyond the stipulation, no? To use that word in seeking agreement, you'd be better off asking "would you care to stipulate further?" Does this make sense to anyone reading?
As he used it, was my friend's usage of "stipulate" correct?

TIA

Tweek
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I was having an argument with a friend recently. He proposed some middle ground and then said "Can you stipulate ... started a new one about his usage of "stipulate." He used it as if it's interchangeable with the word "agree."

He's right. He's asking you to acknowledge as fact something that he's stipulating. I think lawyers use the term in that manner. I could be wrong; I think I heard it on TV.
Mike
Sor what it's worth, I've never ever heard "stipulate to (something)".
It might be used, but it's no idiomatic in any version of English I'm familiar with.

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 22 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey.news to harvey.van)
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http://www.onelook.com/?w=stipulate&ls=a gives

Quick definitions (stipulate)
# verb: make an oral contract or agreement in the verbal form of question and answer that is necessary to give it legal force # verb: specify as a condition or requirement in a contract or agreement; make an express demand or provision in an agreement (Example: "The will stipulates that she can live in the house for the rest of her life") # verb: give a guarantee or promise of (Example: "They stipulated to release all the prisoners")

Only the second definition is familiar to me. It is also the only definition in the COED. I have never met the other two.

Peter Duncanson
UK (posting from a.e.u)
On 16 Feb 2005, lightbulb wrote

and He's right. He's asking you to acknowledge as fact ... could be wrong; I think I heard it on TV.

Sor what it's worth, I've never ever heard "stipulate to (something)". It might be used, but it's no idiomatic in any version of English I'm familiar with.

You lucky guy. You obviously have never spoken to a lawyer. Well, okay, the usage seems to be mainly American. So maybe you do know some lawyers in places other than the US. Nevertheless, run "stipulate +to" through Google and see what happens. (If you don't get lots and lots of examples of perfectly ordinary usage, try searching www.google.com, which gives you American results.)

Of course, "stipulate that" is also completely natural, as in "I will stipulate that my client was present at the meeting."

Liebs
snip
For what it's worth, I've never ever heard ... not idiomatic in any version of English I'm familiar with.

You lucky guy. You obviously have never spoken to a lawyer. Well, okay, the usage seems to be mainly American. So maybe you do know some lawyers in places other than the US.

I've done UK High Court (and tribunal) "expert witness" stuff (property history); it's interesting how easy it is to intimidate lawyers when you know something they don't, so maybe they treated me with kid gloves... Emotion: wink
Nevertheless, run "stipulate +to" through Google and see what happens. (If you don't get lots and lots of examples of perfectly ordinary usage, try searching www.google.com, which gives you American results.)

Perhaps it's a pondian thing; I've not come across it in regular or my (admittedly-limited) exposure to legalese.
Of course, "stipulate that" is also completely natural, as in "I will stipulate that my client was present at the meeting."

No problem with that; idiomatic, even.

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 22 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey.news to harvey.van)
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Sor what it's worth, I've never ever heard "stipulate to (something)". It might be used, but it's no idiomatic in any version of English I'm familiar with.

stipulation: An agreement, admission or concession made in a judicial proceeding or their attorneys, respecting some matter incident thereto. Stipulations may be merely admissions of facts, thereby avoiding the necessity of proof or it may be a complete contract between parties. Where they relate to facts, they are deemed established as fully as if determined by the verdict of a jury; in this context it is a judicial admission and is binding in every sense on the party making the stipulation. See /Blair v Fairchilds, 25 N.C.App. 416, 213 S.E.2d 428./ Stipulations may relate to procedural matters or may contain all the essential characteristics of a mutual contract. See /South Colonization Co. v H. Cole & Co., 201 N.W.817, 185 Wis. 469./
Nothing about the 'to,' however.
I was having an argument with a friend recently. He proposed some middle ground and then said "Can you stipulate to that?"

Incidentally, thanks for raising this question. I've never properly understood the way some people use the word. There's a moment in "A Few Good Men" where Kevin Bacon says that the government will stipulate, or the prosecution will stipulate, and that's always sent me mentally or physically running to the dictionary...
==
Regards,
VI
http://kenm.mydeardiary.com /
On 16 Feb 2005, Robert Lieblich wrote

snip

I think a British barrister would say something like "It is admitted that...". This removes the point from any future contention. To "admit" something in standard British usage is a tad pejorative, but it would be quite neutral in legal usage.
Matti
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