Glossary of Terms
"Although it is generally preferable for a jury to be instructed on the
statutory definition of a word where one exists, a trial court is not
necessarily required to do so. . . . Specific words in a statute need
not be defined if they are being used and understood in their ordinary
meaning. . . . The definition of words in our standard dictionaries is
taken as a matter of common knowledge which the jury is supposed to
possess. . . . If this commonly understood meaning of the word, as found
in a dictionary and presumably applied by the jury, is substantially the
same as the statutory definition, then the failure of the trial court to
give the statutory definition could not have had any effect on the jury
deliberations." State v. Brown, 259 Conn.
799, 808-809 (2002) (trial court did not define "firearm"; the
dictionary definition, which was presumed to have been used by the jury,
and the statutory definition are essentially the same).
absence of a statutory definition, words and phrases in a particular
statute are to be construed according to their common usage. . . . To
ascertain that usage, we look to the dictionary definition of the
term." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Chatterjee v.
Commissioner of Revenue Services, 277 Conn. 681, 690 (2006); General
Statutes § 1-1 (a).
Although the definitions in General Statutes
§ 53a-3 apply only to the Penal Code, the definitions may provide
guidance to the definition of terms used in other sections if it is not
inconsistent with any of the language in that section. State v.
Ramos, 271 Conn 785, 795-97 (2004).