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 head priest of the Buddhist Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, Gikyo Kuchiba, who was detained 30 minutes before Gov. Joseph Poindexter put the territory under martial law. ... Duncan Ryūken Williams, WSJ, "Buddhism as a National-Security Threat," 14 Mar. 2019 This is the first time martial law has been imposed in the Eastern European country. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Russia threatens war with Ukraine — again," 29 Nov. 2018 Kiev declared martial law, and the U.S. sent a warship into the Black Sea and carried out a flight over Ukraine. WSJ, "Year of Living Dangerously With Friends and Foes," 17 Dec. 2018 International rights groups and local critics have accused Duterte of drifting toward authoritarianism after declaring martial law in the south amid a major attack by pro-Islamic State group militants last year. Jim Gomez, Fox News, "Philippine top judge, Duterte's critic, ousted by colleagues," 11 May 2018 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the country’s parliament had approved his declaration of martial law for 30 days starting Wednesday, for a number of provinces most vulnerable to Russian aggression. Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ, "Haley Calls Russia Reckless in Tense Standoff With Ukraine," 26 Nov. 2018 The end of 21 years of a dictatorship, martial law of Ferdinand Marcos. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Memo from a ‘Facebook nation’ to Mark Zuckerberg: You moved fast and broke our country.," 26 Nov. 2018 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

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

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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

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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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