Significant terms and their meanings in international law and diplomacy

SERIES FOUR (Alphabetical order)


By U KHIN MAUNG (A retired diplomat)


balance of power diplomacy: (n)

Balance of Power Diplomacy means Diplomacy based on the manipulation of the power equa­tion between states to create an equilibrium in the relations be­tween states in the international system.


balance of terror: (n)

Balance of Terror is interna­tional stability that is based on the ability of key powers in the international community to inflict massive destruction on each oth­er if a war breaks out.


bankrupt: (n & adj)

Bankrupt as a noun means a person judged by a law court to be unable to pay his debts in full, his property being distributed for the benefit of his creditors.


Bankrupt as an adjective is a term meaning “unable to pay one’s debts”


beau geste (Fr): (n)

Beau geste means a gracious gesture. It also means a gesture noble in form but meaningless in substance. The plural of beau geste is beaux gestes or beau gestes.


[French: beau, noble + geste, gesture.]

bicameral (Lat): (adj)


Bicameral means “composed of or based on two legislative chambers or branches: e.g., a bi­cameral legislature


Bilateral (adj) diplomacy

Bilateral Diplomacy is used to refer to diplomacy which cov­ers the relationship between two states.


bill of lading: (n)

Bill of lading means a doc­ument issued by a carrier to a shipper, listing and specifying the term of delivery.


Bipolar (adj) world

Bipolar World means an in­ternational system that is shaped and Controlled by two dominant states.


bis [Lat]: (adj)

Bis is used to refer to both of or belonging to both or twice or akin to.


Blank (adj) endorsement

Blank endorsement is the endorsement of a negotiable in­strument by merely writing one’s signature on the back. The effect is to make the instrument payable to the bearer.


blockade: (n)

Blockade, in international law, is used to refer to the pre­vention by a belligerent of access to the ports of the enemy.


The announcement of a blockade, if not supported by an adequate naval force, is called a paper blockade, and may be dis­regarded by neutrals.


body (n) corporate

Body corporate is a variant of the corporation that emphasizes the entity and the members that make it up rather than the ab­stract notion (corporation).


bon voyage (Fr) (inj)

Bon voyage is used to ex­press farewell and good wishes to a departing traveller. [French: bon, good + voyage, journey.]


buffer (n) state

Buffer state means a small state between two greater states which is being used to prevent direct clashes between the latter.



(1) Black’s Law Dictionary by Bryan A. Garner

( 2 ) အ သ က် တ စ် ရာ မ နေ ရ ။ အမှုတစ်ရာမက တွေ့ရတတ်သည်။

(3) Law and Customs in Burma and the Burmese Family

(4) Dr Maung Maung, B.L (Ran­goon)

(5) J.S.D (Yale), LL. D (Utrecht), of Lincoln’s Inn

(6) Barrister-at-law