Judicial verdicts matter. Apart from deciding the fate of litigants, common law verdicts hold precedential value. They create and alter legal cultures. Considering their importance, it is crucial to ask: what do judicial verdicts turn on? Each verdict is certainly influenced by the case facts, evidence and argumentation presented before the court. However, verdicts are also importantly shaped by how we think about language.1 Questions about language—about the relationship between words and meaning—are central to legal philosophy.