the letter of the law

noun phrase

: exactly what the law says
They seem to be more concerned with obeying the letter of the law than with understanding the spirit of the law.

Examples of the letter of the law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The spirit of the law might support you more than the letter of the law, so direct your audience’s attention there., Baltimore Sun, 29 Feb. 2024 The Biden administration, through its malicious neglect and positive subversion of our immigration law, has made itself in effect, if not by the letter of the law, an accessory to Laken Riley’s murder. The Editors, National Review, 27 Feb. 2024 Many of Collins’ novels focus on marriage’s negative consequences for women and the fissures in personal identity imposed by the letter of the law. Katherine Hobbs, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Jan. 2024 In sports, as in life, the letter of the law is only a rough guide to good behavior. David Papineau, WSJ, 14 Dec. 2023 Apple has a tendency to follow the letter of the law, so to speak, while also kicking and screaming about it. WIRED, 16 Nov. 2023 In reality, much of weed that is on sale is much stronger than 0.2% THC in a country where adherence to regulations and the letter of the law can be patchy. Heather Chen, CNN, 29 Sep. 2023 As selling oils meant for external use or skincare isn’t prohibited, the rising interest in navel oiling technically abides by the letter of the law, but allows for wild mischaracterizations in the process. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 2023 But the status has become a favorite legal tool of those who want to provide backdoor amnesty because the letter of the law allows endless extensions, and ample stretching of the definitions, for those who qualify. The Editors, National Review, 22 Sep. 2023

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

Dictionary Entries Near the letter of the law

Cite this Entry

“The letter of the law.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

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