Null and Void

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Meaning of Idiom 'Null and Void'

Null and void is a legal term which means canceled or ineffective. 1,2


This idiom is usually used in reference to legal contracts or other legally recognized arrangements such as marriage. It is often preceded by the word declared as in the contract was declared null and void. It can also be used in a less formal setting. For example: "Our friendship is not null and void."

The term null can be used alone with the same meaning. As well, void is sometimes used as in the examples "to void a check" or "a voided check."


"The studio declared the contract null and void when the actor violated its terms."

"Although she had been married for ten years, Marie's husband had been missing since the first month, so the marriage was eventually declared null and void."

"If you break the rules of the lease it, it is null and void."


First recorded in print in 1669.

Null and void are actually redundant terms in this idiom as they both mean "without effect" or "ineffective." 1

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.

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