Blackstone (black'-ston), Sir William. A celebrated jurist, born in London in 1723. He was a judge, a member of parliament, and author of "Commentaries on the Laws of England." After seven years' practice, his prospects were so indifferent that he retired to Oxford on his fellowship, and there gave public lectures on English law. Their success is supposed to have suggested to Mr. Viner the propriety of establishing a professorship of law in the university, to which office Blackstone was elected, being the first Vinerian lecturer, in 1758. Subsequently having married, he vacated his fellowship and was appointed principal of New-Inn Hall. That office, with his Vinerian professorship, he resigned in 1766. In 1770 he became one of the judges of the Common Pleas. Died 1780.