international law


Definition of international law

: a body of rules that control or affect the rights of nations in their relations with each other

Examples of international law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Refusing to offer asylum would violate international law. Dara Lind, Vox, "The migrant caravan, explained," 24 Oct. 2018 All that will increase pressure on Washington to compromise with Pyongyang — providing the incentives Kim seeks, even if the weapons capabilities he's amassed violate international law. Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "Some see signs of hope on North Korea as Trump heads to UN," 22 Sep. 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Western strikes had violated international law and set back the peace process, the Kremlin said. CBS News, "What's next after the U.S. bombed targets in Syria?," 17 Apr. 2018 All its 13 lawyers came from international law firms. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, "Russian Lawyers Find Lucrative Niche Counseling Clients Hit by Sanctions," 15 Dec. 2018 Under the age-old international law, the rum ships in the Atlantic and Pacific could anchor but three miles from shore and in plain sight of the coast sell their cargoes to motorboats and rowboats from land. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Rewind: What Guarding Uncle Sam's Borders Was Like in 1925," 11 Feb. 2019 While there is a basis in international law for amnesty, Travesí warns it must be legislated very carefully within the legal code of each country and painstakingly paired with programs to prevent recidivism. Martha Pskowski, The New Republic, "The Radical Amnesty Plan of Mexico’s Next President," 2 July 2018 They are being held in indefinite detention under what the U.S. asserts are the international laws of war. Ben Fox,, "U.S. military plans as if Guantanamo won't close for decades," 7 June 2018 The suggestion of eliminating the courts and judges, however, is contrary to the policies currently being carried out by his own administration, and would likely violate the Constitution and international law in addition to federal law. Allie Malloy, CNN, "Trump calls for sweeping changes to US immigration legal process," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'international law.' 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 international law

1789, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for international law

Last Updated

15 May 2019

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The first known use of international law was in 1789

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international law


Legal Definition of international law

: a body of laws, rules, or legal principles that are based on custom, treaties, or legislation and that control or affect the rights and duties of nations in relation to each other — compare internal law

More from Merriam-Webster on international law Encyclopedia article about international law

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one that collects or salvages junk

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