as in constitution
a collection or system of rules of conduct it's important to obey the law at all times, or else you might end up in jail

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in police
the department of government that keeps order, fights crime, and enforces statutes a petty thief who had somehow managed to avoid the law for most of his life

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How is the word law distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of law are canon, ordinance, precept, regulation, rule, and statute. While all these words mean "a principle governing action or procedure," law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority.

obey the law

When could canon be used to replace law?

In some situations, the words canon and law are roughly equivalent. However, canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide.

the canons of good taste

When can ordinance be used instead of law?

While in some cases nearly identical to law, ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality.

a city ordinance

When would precept be a good substitute for law?

The words precept and law can be used in similar contexts, but precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching.

the precepts of effective writing

When might regulation be a better fit than law?

The meanings of regulation and law largely overlap; however, regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system.

regulations affecting nuclear power plants

When is rule a more appropriate choice than law?

The words rule and law are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, rule applies to more restricted or specific situations.

the rules of the game

When is it sensible to use statute instead of law?

Although the words statute and law have much in common, statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body.

a statute requiring the use of seat belts

Thesaurus Entries Near law

Cite this Entry

“Law.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on law

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