poor law


: a law providing for or regulating the public relief or support of the poor

Examples of poor law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Determining just who was in charge that day is a focal point as investigators try to make sense of a series of poor law enforcement decisions and delays in the police response that could well have cost lives. Josh Margolin, ABC News, 16 Nov. 2022 Compare this to the Britannica’s article on poor law, still in force then and painstakingly described over a number of pages. Marilynne Robinson, Harper’s Magazine , 20 July 2022 Get our daily newsletter Breeding tigers and trading them and their parts is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, but this treaty is widely flouted in Asia because of poor law-enforcement and high demand for tigers. The Economist, 28 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'poor law.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1725, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of poor law was in 1725

Dictionary Entries Near poor law

Cite this Entry

“Poor law.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poor%20law. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on poor law

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!