variants or burlaw
plural -s
: the local custom or law of a vill, township, or rural district in the north of England or in Scotland that governs disputes relating especially to boundaries, dates of plowing, and use of common land
also : a particular custom or law established by common consent of the landholders of such a district

Word History


Middle English birelage, birlawe, perhaps from (assumed) Old Norse bȳjar lög, from Old Norse bȳjar (genitive of bȳr town) + lög law

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Cite this Entry

“Byrlaw.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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