Latin. A false or mistaken description does not vitiate. If a description is partially accurate and inaccurate, the gift in a will is generally saved by striking out the inaccurate part. (Partially inaccurate description). An erroneous description does not injure. The application of this maxim is not universal. If the description be essential, as, for example, the description by name and designation of the writer of a deed or of the testamentary witnesses, any error therein will be fatal to the deed, although there be no room for doubt as to the individual. But where the description is merely expository, an error in it will not vitiate, if it be clear who is the person intended to be specified. See Dummodo constet, &c., and cases there cited.
In the construction of wills and other instruments there is a principle falsa demonstratio non nocet (mere erroneous description does not vitiate). 'Where a description of a thing or person consists of several particulars and all of them do not fit any one person or thing, less essential particulars may be rejected provided the remainder of the description clearly fits. This is known as the doctrine of falsa demonstratio non nocet.' Clapp, 5 N. J. Practice, section 114, page 274 A leading case involving the application of the above maxim is Patch v. White, 117 U.S. 210, 6 S. Ct. 617, 710, 29 L. Ed. 860 (1886). There, the testator bequeathed to his brother land which he described as belonging to himself and as containing improvements, the lot being ''numbered six, in square four hundred and three.'' He did not own the lot so numbered but did own lot number 3, in square 406, which was improved. The lot numbered 6 in square 403 had no improvements. The court applied the principle of falsa demonstratio non nocet, and by disregarding or rejecting the words 'six' and 'three' in the description, concluded that the lot owned by the decedent passed to his brother under this provision of the will.