legalism

noun
le·​gal·​ism | \ ˈlē-gə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce legalism (audio) \

Definition of legalism

1 : strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code the institutionalized legalism that restricts free choice
2 : a legal term or rule

Examples of legalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web His public presentation of special counsel Robert Mueller's report — which detailed appalling wrongdoing on the president's part — was a master class in partisan spin, blurring the underlying misconduct amid a whirlwind of legalism and misdirection. Star Tribune, 17 Dec. 2020 But does anyone truly think that the public forms its perceptions based on such legalisms and hair-splitting? Nathan L. Kinard, National Review, 6 Feb. 2020 Harris has famously repented of his past legalism, and that makes his departure from the faith particularly poignant. David French, National Review, 29 July 2019 In response, Boeing vice president Austell dismissed the Airbus position as a deceptive legalism. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, 9 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of legalism

1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About legalism

Time Traveler for legalism

Time Traveler

The first known use of legalism was in 1871

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near legalism

legalis homo

legalism

legalist

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for legalism

Cite this Entry

“Legalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legalism. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on legalism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about legalism

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!