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

Japan insists that all compensation matters were settled when the two countries normalized relations under a 1965 treaty and that the South Korean court rulings go against international law. Washington Post, "South Korean leader says Japan dishonest over wartime past," 31 Aug. 2019 Some worry that international law more generally will be undermined by all this rule-breaking. The Economist, "A global revolution in attitudes towards cannabis is under way," 29 Aug. 2019 Soon, ideas like that which Trump has evidently suggested were cast to the fringes of scientific thinking; Reed’s idea would actually now be prohibited under international law by the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "America's Decades-Old Obsession With Nuking Hurricanes (and More)," 26 Aug. 2019 This is now routine for rescue boats because Italy, by the will of its anti-immigrant minister of home affairs, Matteo Salvini, has denied the ships authorization to dock in its harbors, contravening international law. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "A stranded migrant rescue ship used its route to send a secret message to the world," 21 Aug. 2019 They're not protected by international laws, so industrialized countries aren't legally obligated to grant them asylum. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Scientists bid farewell to the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change. If more melt, it can be disastrous," 18 Aug. 2019 The boycott movement aims to end international support for Israel because of its policies toward Palestinians, as well as its continued construction of West Bank settlements, considered a violation of international law. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Rep. Tlaib says she won’t visit Israel after being allowed to enter on humanitarian grounds," 16 Aug. 2019 This isn’t mandated by international law, but most space-faring nations adhere to this policy of planetary protection under guidelines established by an international group known as the Committee on Space Research. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Why stowaway creatures on the Moon confound international space law," 16 Aug. 2019 The commission will be headed by Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon, a former ambassador to the Holy See who teaches and writes on bioethics and human rights in international law. Marcy Oster,, "Orthodox rabbi, daughter of Tom Lantos to serve on new U.S. human rights commission," 10 July 2019

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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Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

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The first known use of international law was in 1789

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More Definitions for international law

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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readily or continually undergoing change

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