09/08/16 The Meaning of the Expression ‘KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS’

e-legal lesson

Occasionally the introductory clause in a contract is itself introduced by the egregiously archaic know all men by these presents, usually in all capitals. It’s a stodgy translation of the Latinism noverint universi, meaning “know all persons.” It means, in effect, “take notice,” and as such it serves no purpose other than to mark the drafter as someone in thrall to the archaic.