legalism

noun
le·gal·ism | \ˈlē-gə-ˌli-zəm \

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

In response, Boeing vice president Austell dismissed the Airbus position as a deceptive legalism. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "WTO upholds ruling against Washington’s tax reduction for Boeing," 9 June 2017 The denomination, which strictly follows Robert’s Rules of Order, seems to work out huge questions of culture and theology this way: through legalism. Emma Green, The Atlantic, "A Conservative Christian Battle Over Gender," 5 July 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.

First Known Use of legalism

1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about legalism

Statistics for legalism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for legalism

The first known use of legalism was in 1871

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on legalism

See words that rhyme with legalism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about legalism

Comments on legalism

What made you want to look up legalism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!