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

Some regions of Ukraine were under limited martial law, or military control of the government, on Wednesday, with the nation’s leaders hoping it’s enough to prevent a Russian invasion. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Russia threatens war with Ukraine — again," 29 Nov. 2018 Poroshenko toured a military training center Wednesday in the Chernihiv region bordering Russia, one of the areas where martial law was imposed. Yuras Karmanau, The Seattle Times, "Putin derides Ukraine’s martial law as political trick," 28 Nov. 2018 When martial law was declared, my family left the Philippines and came to the United States. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Memo from a ‘Facebook nation’ to Mark Zuckerberg: You moved fast and broke our country.," 26 Nov. 2018 The report linked the slayings to President Rodrigo Duterte’s push to expand industrial agriculture, especially on the island of Mindanao, where most of the killings have taken place and where martial law has been declared. Sarah Dilorenzo, The Seattle Times, "Group: Land activist murders keep rising, 2017 deadliest yet," 23 July 2018 Then the mayor declared martial law and called in the National Guard. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "‘I am a child’: How an artist turned civil rights imagery into a message of protest for immigrant kids," 1 July 2018 While martial law would no longer exist, the president would be able to declare a similar state of emergency, giving authorities powers to restrict basic rights and freedoms. 4. Bloomberg.com, "How Erdogan Made Turkey's Next Election Like No Other," 2 May 2018 The decree allows troops to move in but is different from martial law, which puts the entire government under military control. Hyung-jin Kim, The Seattle Times, "South Korea to probe military plan to quell Park protests," 10 July 2018 Duterte has placed the southern third of the country under martial law to deal with extremist threats and has threatened in the past to resort to authoritarian rule nationwide to combat lawlessness. Fox News, "Duterte threatens to use emergency rule 'to the hilt'," 7 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near martial law

martialism

martialist

martialize

martial law

martialness

martian

martin

Statistics for martial law

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for martial law

The first known use of martial law was in 1576

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on martial law

Britannica English: Translation of martial law for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about martial law

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