meaning. The sense of anything, but esp. of words; that which is conveyed (or intended to be conveyed) by a written or oral statement or other communicative act. • The word ordinarily includes a mistaken but reasonable understanding of a communication. Cf. AMBIGUITY.

objective meaning.The meaning that would be attributed to an unambiguous document (or portion of a document) by a disinterested reasonable person who is familiar with the surrounding circumstances. • A party to a contract is often held to its objective meaning, which it is considered to have had reason to know, even if the party subjectively understood or intended something else.

[Cases: Contracts 147(1). C.J.S. Contracts § 308; Parent and Child § 178.]

plain meaning.The meaning attributed to a document (usu. by a court) by giving the words their ordinary sense, without referring to extrinsic indications of the author’s intent. — Also termed ordinary meaning. See PLAIN-MEANING RULEE. [Cases: Contracts 152. C.J.S.

Contracts §§ 307, 318–322, 327, 331.]

subjective meaning.The meaning that a party to a legal document attributes to it when the document is written, executed, or otherwise adopted. [Cases: Contracts 170(1). C.J.S. Contracts §§ 338–340.]

[Blacks Law 8th]