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 Phenix City was placed under martial law, and a deputy sheriff was eventually convicted of the murder. Washington Post, 5 June 2021 Born after martial law, a new generation of Taiwanese came of age with privileges and freedoms foreign to their parents. Dan Xin Huang, The New Republic, 24 May 2021 But the military’s reinforcements and subsequent bombardment of the town sent fighters and other residents fleeing, allowing the Tatmadaw to seize Mindat and declare martial law. Washington Post, 21 May 2021 Their communities were subject to martial law until 1966. Dina Kraft, Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2021 The lockdown was like martial law; people put up with it. Stuart Emmrich, Vogue, 15 Apr. 2021 Prior to becoming one of the world’s freest democracies, the small island nation had been subject to martial law and single-party rule from 1947 until the late 1980s. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Mar. 2021 President Trump should declare martial law as recommended by General Flynn. Isaac Schorr, National Review, 5 May 2021 Jade Helm 15 was ultimately run free of martial law, though the concern surrounding the wildfire of conspiracies lingered. Alex Briseno, Dallas News, 19 Jan. 2021

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

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Martial law.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/martial%20law. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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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

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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