I know legal terminology tends to the arcane, but this is ridiculous. Apparently in the heading of affidavits there is a line that simply says “ss” between the names of state and county, thus:
STATE OF ARIZONA )
COUNTY OF MARICOPA )
And nobody knows what it means. There are, of course, several theories. One is that it means “subsections”; this seems to me shot down by the fact that there are no subsection numbers next to it. Another is that it means scilicet ‘namely’; aside from the fact that the normal abbreviation is sc, ‘namely’ makes no sense here. The explanation that Margaret Marks, from whom I take this item, tentatively prefers (and I’m glad to hear it, because I, a legal ignoramus, like it too) is
what Bryan Garner says in Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage: that it was entered once in error and then copied again and again over the centuries. Garner… says it comes from a flourish in the Year Books (unofficial law reports from 1282 to 1537).
The law is not only a ass, it is a sloppy and forgetful ass.