martial law

noun

Definition of martial law

1 : the law applied in occupied territory by the military authority of the occupying power
2 : the law administered by military forces that is invoked by a government in an emergency when the civilian law enforcement agencies are unable to maintain public order and safety

Examples of martial law in a Sentence

The government has imposed martial law throughout the city to stop the riots. an area placed under martial law
Recent Examples on the Web The Nationalists imposed martial law two years later, and it was not lifted until 1987 by Chiang Ching-kuo. Jonathan Kandell, BostonGlobe.com, "Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan’s first democratically elected president, 97," 30 July 2020 Life had grown hard under martial law in the Middle Eastern city as riots broke out against the decades-old authoritarian rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "Arc of San Antonio member’s life filled with adventure and achievements on world stage," 13 July 2020 In 2015, Republican officials amplified fringe concerns that Jade Helm 15, a military training exercise in the American West and Southwest, was a prelude to martial law. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Fear of a Forever-Trump Administration," 9 July 2020 Weeks of protests across China, centered in Beijing's historic public square, were crushed that day when Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping declared martial law and security forces fired on the protesters. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "'Abhorrent' and 'dangerous': Sen. Cotton's call for military response to protests receives criticism," 4 June 2020 In the weeks before the 2008 election, various rumors circulated online that Bush would declare martial law to prevent Barack Obama’s victory. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Fear of a Forever-Trump Administration," 9 July 2020 Morton also argued in favor of the Enforcement Act of 1871, also known as the Ku Klux Act, which gave President Ulysses S. Grant authority to declare martial law and more power to oppose terrorism in the South. Dawn Mitchell, The Indianapolis Star, "The story behind the Oliver P. Morton, the 'War Governor' with the big statue," 19 June 2020 On September 23, 1972, Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, hauled hundreds of journalists, politicians, and activists to jail, and shut down all newspapers and broadcast stations. Sheila Coronel, The Atlantic, "Democracy Dies by a Thousand Cuts," 16 June 2020 The next day, the National Guard came and declared martial law, and the charges against Rowland were dropped. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "'Black Wall Street': Trump's plan for rally in Tulsa calls attention to 1921 race massacre," 16 June 2020

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

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for martial law

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The first known use of martial law was in 1576

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Statistics for martial law

Last Updated

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Martial law.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/martial%20law. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for martial law

martial law

noun

English Language Learners Definition of martial law

: control of an area by military forces rather than by the police

martial law

noun
mar·​tial law | \ ˈmär-shəl- \

Legal Definition of martial law

1 : the law applied in occupied territory by the military authority of the occupying power
2 : the law administered by military forces that is invoked by a government in an emergency when civilian law enforcement agencies are unable to maintain public order and safety — compare military law

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More from Merriam-Webster on martial law

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for martial law

Britannica English: Translation of martial law for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about martial law

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