1

law

play
noun \ ˈlȯ \

Definition of law

1 a (1) :a binding custom or practice of a community :a rule of conduct or action prescribed (see prescribe 1a) or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority
(2) :the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules
  • The courts exist to uphold, interpret, and apply the law.
(3) :common law
b (1) :the control brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law
  • preserved law and order in the town
(2) :the action of laws considered as a means of redressing wrongs; also :litigation
  • developed the habit of going to law over the slightest provocation
  • —H. A. Overstreet
(3) :the agency of or an agent of established law
  • When he saw that the fighting was escalating, he called in the law.
c :a rule or order that it is advisable or obligatory to observe
  • a law of self-preservation
d :something compatible with or enforceable by established law
  • The decrees were judged not to be law and were therefore rescinded.
e :control, authority
  • The child submits to no law.
2 a often capitalized :the revelation of the will of God set forth in the Old Testament
b capitalized :the first part of the Jewish scriptures :pentateuch, torah — see Bible Table
3 :a rule of construction or procedure
  • the laws of poetry
4 :the whole body of laws relating to one subject
  • criminal law
  • probate law
5 a :the legal profession
  • studied for a career in law
b :law as a department of knowledge :jurisprudence
c :legal knowledge
  • a man with much history but little law
6 a :a statement of an order or relation of phenomena that so far as is known is invariable under the given conditions
  • a law of thermodynamics
  • Boyle's law
b :a general relation proved or assumed to hold between mathematical or logical expressions
at law
:under or within the provisions of the law
  • enforceable at law

Examples of law in a Sentence

  1. The courts exist to uphold, interpret, and apply the law.

  2. a lawyer who specializes in criminal law

  3. In our civics class we learned how a bill becomes a law.

  4. She has proposed a new law to protect people from being evicted unfairly.

  5. Schools are required by law to provide a safe learning environment.

  6. The bill will become law at the beginning of the year.

  7. He's been in and out of trouble with the law for the last 10 years.

Recent Examples of law from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of law

Middle English, from Old English lagu, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse lǫg law; akin to Old English licgan to lie — more at lie

Synonym Discussion of law

law, rule, regulation, precept, statute, ordinance, canon mean a principle governing action or procedure. law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority.
    • obey the law
rule applies to more restricted or specific situations.
    • the rules of the game
regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system.
    • regulations affecting nuclear power plants
precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching.
    • the precepts of effective writing
statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body.
    • a statute requiring the use of seat belts
ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality.
    • a city ordinance
canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide.
    • the canons of good taste

synonyms see in addition hypothesis


2

law

verb

Definition of law

intransitive verb
transitive verb
chiefly dialectal :to sue or prosecute at law

Recent Examples of law from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of law

see 1law


Law

play
biographical name \ ˈlȯ \

Definition of Law

(Andrew) Bon*ar play \ˈbä-nər\ 1858–1923 British (Canadian-born) statesman

Law

biographical name

Definition of Law

Edward 1750–1818 1st Baron El*len*bor*ough play \ˈe-lən-ˌbər-ə, -ˌbə-rə, -brə\ English jurist

Law

biographical name

Definition of Law

John 1671–1729 Scottish financier and speculator

Law

biographical name

Definition of Law

William 1686–1761 English writer

LAW Defined for English Language Learners

law

play
noun

Definition of law for English Language Learners

  • : the whole system or set of rules made by the government of a town, state, country, etc.

  • : a particular kind of law

  • : a rule made by the government of a town, state, country, etc.


LAW Defined for Kids

law

play
noun \ ˈlȯ \

Definition of law for Students

1 :a rule of conduct or action that a nation or a group of people agrees to follow
2 :a whole collection of established rules
  • the law of the land
3 :a rule or principle that always works the same way under the same conditions
  • the law of gravity
4 :a bill passed by a legislature
5 :2police 1
6 :the profession of a lawyer

Medical Dictionary

law

play
noun \ ˈlȯ \

medical Definition of law

:a statement of order or relation holding for certain phenomena that so far as is known is invariable under the given conditions

Law Dictionary

law

play
noun \ ˈlȯ \

legal Definition of law

1 :a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority: as
a :a command or provision enacted by a legislature — see also statute 1
b :something (as a judicial decision) authoritatively accorded binding or controlling effect in the administration of justice
  • that case is no longer the law of this circuit
2 a :a body of laws
  • the law of a state
; broadly :laws and justice considered as a general and established entity
  • the law looks with disfavor on restraints on alienation
b :common law — compare equity 2
3 a :the control or authority of the law
  • maintain law and order
b :one or more agents or agencies involved in enforcing laws
c :the application of a law or laws as distinct from considerations of fact
  • an error of law
— see also issue of law at issue, matter of law at matter, question of law at question 2
4 :the whole body of laws and doctrines relating to one subject
  • contract law
  • the law of attractive nuisance
5 a :the legal profession
  • practice law
b :the nature, use, and effects of laws and legal systems as an area of knowledge or society
  • the politics of law
— compare jurisprudence
at law
:under or within the provisions of the law especially as opposed to equity
  • a remedy at law

Origin and Etymology of law

Old English lagu, of Scandinavian origin



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