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Defined Terms? Fuhgeddaboudit!

In September 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary (“OED”) added the word “fuhgeddaboudit”, among others, as part of its quarterly update.  The term is defined as:

“In representations of regional speech (associated especially with New York and New Jersey): ‘forget about it’, used to indicate that a suggested scenario is unlikely or undesirable.”

 However, anyone who has seen the movie Donnie Brasco starring Johnny Depp (“Depp”), knows that the OED definition does not account for all uses of the term.  Depp played an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated a New York mafia family.  When Depp’s character was asked by his FBI colleagues what “fuhgeddaboudit” meant, he gave them several responses.  He said the term could be used to: (i) agree with someone, (ii) disagree with someone, (ii) say something’s the greatest in the world, (iv) tell someone to go to hell, or lastly, (v) forget about it.

When entering into an agreement, often times parties will reference a term but do not formally define it.  Why?  Each party thinks they know what it means.  As illustrated by the various uses and interpretations of fuhgeddaboudit above, it is best to clearly define terms in an agreement to ensure it reflects the parties’ understanding.  Otherwise, one could find themselves in a situation.  Capisce?  Fuhgeddaboudit!!!  -- Donna H. Hartman