Technicality, n. In an English court a man named Home was tried for
slander in having accused a neighbor of murder. His exact words were:
"Sir Thomas Holt hath taken a cleaver and stricken his cook upon the
head, so that one side of his head fell on one shoulder and the other
side upon the other shoulder." The defendant was acquitted by
instruction of the court, the learned judges holding that the words did
not charge murder, for they did not affirm the death of the cook, that
being only an inference.
-- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"