From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Jurisdiction \Ju`ris*dic"tion\, n. [L. jurisdictio; jus, juris,
   right, law + dictio a saying, speaking: cf. OF. jurisdiction,
   F. juridiction. See Just, a., and Diction.]
   [1913 Webster]
   1. (Law) The legal power, right, or authority of a particular
      court to hear and determine causes, to try criminals, or
      to execute justice; judicial authority over a cause or
      class of causes; as, certain suits or actions, or the
      cognizance of certain crimes, are within the jurisdiction
      of a particular court, that is, within the limits of its
      authority or commission.
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   2. The authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate;
      the right of making or enforcing laws; the power or right
      of exercising authority.
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            To live exempt
            From Heaven's high jurisdiction.      --Milton.
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            You wrought to be a legate; by which power
            You maim'd the jurisdiction of all bishops. --Shak.
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   3. Sphere of authority; the limits within which any
      particular power may be exercised, or within which a
      government or a court has authority.
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   Note: Jurisdiction, in its most general sense, is the power
         to make, declare, or apply the law. When confined to
         the judiciary department, it is what we denominate the
         judicial power, the right of administering justice
         through the laws, by the means which the laws have
         provided for that purpose. Jurisdiction is limited to
         place or territory, to persons, or to particular
         subjects. --Duponceau.
         [1913 Webster]
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