1a(1) : a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed (see prescribe sense 1a) or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority

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(2) : the whole body of such customs, practices, or rules The courts exist to uphold, interpret, and apply the law.
b(1) : the control brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law The Indian government is believed to have detained thousands of other people last year … . The government said the move, decried by critics as draconian, was necessary to maintain law and public order in the region. — BBC.com — see also law and order
(2) : the action of laws considered as a means of redressing wrongs also : litigation developed the habit of going to law over the slightest provocation — H. A. Overstreet
(3) : the agency of or an agent of established law When he saw that the fighting was escalating, he called in the law.
d : something compatible with or enforceable by established law The decrees were judged not to be law and were therefore rescinded.
6a : a statement of an order or relation of phenomena that so far as is known is invariable under the given conditions a law of thermodynamics Boyle"s law
\ ˈlȯ \
(Andrew) Bon*ar \ ˈbä-​nər \ 1858–1923 British (Canadian-born) statesman
Edward 1750–1818 1st Baron Ellenborough \ ˈe-​lən-​ˌbər-​ə , -​ˌbə-​rə , -​brə \ English jurist

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Synonyms for law

Synonyms: Noun

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law, rule, regulation, precept, statute, ordinance, canon 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 rule applies to more restricted or specific situations. the rules of the game regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system. regulations affecting nuclear power plants precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching. the precepts of effective writing statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body. a statute requiring the use of seat belts ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality. a city ordinance canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide. the canons of good taste synonyms see in addition hypothesis

Noun The courts exist to uphold, interpret, and apply the law. a lawyer who specializes in criminal law In our civics class we learned how a bill becomes a law. She has proposed a new law to protect people from being evicted unfairly. Schools are required by law to provide a safe learning environment. The bill will become law at the beginning of the year. He"s been in and out of trouble with the law for the last 10 years.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Its focus on eliminating racial disparities in school suspensions led the district to be among the first in Texas to ban discretionary out-of-school suspensions for students in second grade and younger, a concept that later became state law. — Talia Richman, Dallas News, 27 Sep. 2021 The Courant and the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press challenged that law in federal court, however, and Amos’ records were among more than 100 cases made public after a ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael Shea last year. — Zach Murdock, courant.com, 27 Sep. 2021 Imperial law allows the throne to be passed only to male heirs. — Reuters, CNN, 27 Sep. 2021 Why make exceptions to the state’s competitive bid law? — Mike Cason | Mcason
al.com, al, 27 Sep. 2021 Willa Hemmons, the city’s law director, did not return messages left seeking comment. — John Caniglia, cleveland, 27 Sep. 2021 Still, the influence law and an accompanying expansion of espionage crimes have yet to produce a conviction or a significant increase in transparency around lobbying on behalf of China. — New York Times, 27 Sep. 2021 Now, the McCloskeys might have their law licenses revoked. — Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 27 Sep. 2021 However, due to immigration law, USCIS could select only 85,000 H-1B petitions. — Stuart Anderson, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word "law." Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of centregalilee.com or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of law


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


circa 1550, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for law

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English lagu, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse lǫg law; akin to Old English licgan to lie — more at lie