by·​law | \ ˈbī-ˌlȯ How to pronounce bylaw (audio) \
variants: or less commonly byelaw

Definition of bylaw

1 : a rule adopted by an organization chiefly for the government of its members and the regulation of its affairs
2 : a local ordinance

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Examples of bylaw in a Sentence

the club's bylaws bar any member whose annual dues remain unpaid from voting in the election

Recent Examples on the Web

The Gary Common Council gave its approval to the bylaws for the city’s new Port District. Gregory Tejeda, Post-Tribune, "Gary approves new Port Board bylaws," 3 July 2018 The bylaws have been changed since Ramsey's departure. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "University of Louisville: Ramsey rich enough to pay his own court fees," 8 June 2018 According to USA Today, the USOC’s bylaws stipulate that a three-person hearing will be held to decide the fate of USAG. Jessica Taylor Price, Teen Vogue, "U.S. Olympics Committee Moves to Decertify USA Gymnastics," 6 Nov. 2018 Noxious and offensive activities are prohibited in condominium declarations and bylaws. Howard Dakoff,, "In condo association, what's the difference between a committee and a commission?," 3 July 2018 Members of the new committee will review town bylaws and recommendations of the 2017 Charter Bylaw Review Committee and suggest ways to bring the bylaws into conformity with the new city charter. Jennifer Fenn Lefferts,, "Framingham seeks volunteers for mayoral by-law panel," 16 May 2018 National Amusements thwarted that move by changing CBS’s bylaws so that such a maneuver would require a 90% supermajority vote. Keach Hagey, WSJ, "CBS Directors, Les Moonves Negotiating His Exit as CEO," 6 Sep. 2018 Meanwhile, in Delaware, a judge issues an order preventing any changes to the CBS board hours after the Redstone family unilaterally voted to change CBS’ bylaws to require a 90% vote of the board for important matters. Kate Stanhope,, "Timeline: The Redstones' many battles for Viacom ... and now CBS," 22 May 2018 The day before the meeting, Ms. Redstone had changed the board’s bylaws to require a 90 percent supermajority for any motion to carry. New York Times, "Shari Redstone and Leslie Moonves Have Starring Roles in a Corporate War," 17 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bylaw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bylaw

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bylaw

Middle English bilawe, probably from Old Norse *bȳlǫg, from Old Norse bȳr town + lag-, lǫg law

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Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for bylaw

The first known use of bylaw was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of bylaw

US : a rule that an organization (such as a club or company) makes and that its members must follow
: a law or regulation that is made by a local government and that applies only to the local area


by·​law | \ ˈbī-ˌlȯ\

Legal Definition of bylaw

1 : a rule adopted by an organization chiefly for the government of its members and the management of its affairs
2 : a local ordinance often used in pl.

History and Etymology for bylaw

Middle English bilage, bilawe local law, probably ultimately from Old Norse bȳr town + lǫg law

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More from Merriam-Webster on bylaw

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bylaw

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bylaw

Spanish Central: Translation of bylaw

Nglish: Translation of bylaw for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bylaw for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bylaw

What made you want to look up bylaw? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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