unwritten law


Definition of unwritten law

: law based chiefly on custom rather than legislative enactments

Examples of unwritten law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, groups like the Ku Klux Klan intimidated and killed black people who challenged the now-unwritten laws of conduct. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Jim Crow laws created ‘slavery by another name’," 5 Feb. 2020 Stoddard notes, disdaining the vagueness of unwritten law based on power. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Founding vs. The Old West in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," 25 Nov. 2019 It was generally believed that the jury’s final verdict would be based on America’s unwritten law about white women and colored men. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story Behind “Marshall”," 7 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unwritten 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 unwritten law

1641, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for unwritten law

Time Traveler

The first known use of unwritten law was in 1641

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Statistics for unwritten law

Cite this Entry

“Unwritten law.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unwritten%20law. Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for unwritten law

unwritten law

un·​writ·​ten law

Legal Definition of unwritten law

: law based chiefly on custom rather than legislative enactments

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