law [lô]
[ME lawe < OE lagu < Anglo-Norm * lagu, akin to ON lǫg, pl. of lag, something laid down or settled < IE base * legh-, to lie down > LIE1]
a) all the rules of conduct established and enforced by the authority, legislation, or custom of a given community, state, or other group
b) any one of such rules
2. the condition existing when obedience to such rules is general [to establish law and order]
3. the branch of knowledge dealing with such rules; jurisprudence
4. the system of courts in which such rules are referred to in defending one's rights, securing justice, etc. [to resort to law to settle a matter]
5. all such rules having to do with a particular sphere of human activity [business law]
6. common law, as distinguished from equity
7. the profession of lawyers, judges, etc.: often with the
a) a sequence of events in nature or in human activities that has been observed to occur with unvarying uniformity under the same conditions: often law of nature
b) the formulation in words of such a sequence [the law of gravitation, the law of diminishing returns]
9. any rule or principle expected to be observed [the laws of health, a law of grammar]
10. inherent tendency; instinct [the law of self-preservation]
11. Eccles.
a) a divine commandment
b) all divine commandments collectively
12. Math., Logic, etc.Math. Logic etc. a general principle to which all applicable cases must conform [the laws of exponents]
13. Sports Brit. an allowance in distance or time as in a race; handicap
vi., vt.
[Informal or Dial.] to take legal action (against)
go to law
to take a problem or dispute to a law court for settlement
lay down the law
1. to give explicit orders in an authoritative manner
2. to give a scolding (to)
read law
to study to become a lawyer
the Law or the law
1. the Mosaic law, or the part of the Jewish Scriptures containing it; specif., the Pentateuch
2. [the l-] Informal a policeman or the police
SYN.- LAW, in its specific application, implies prescription and enforcement by a ruling authority [the law of the land ]; a RULE may not be authoritatively enforced, but it is generally observed in the interests of order, uniformity, etc. [the rules of golf ]; REGULATION refers to a rule of a group or organization, enforced by authority [military regulations]; a STATUTE is a law enacted by a legislative body; an ORDINANCE is a local, generally municipal, law; a CANON1 is, strictly, a law of a church, but the term is also used of any rule or principle regarded as true or in conformity with good usage [the canons of taste ]

English World dictionary. . 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Law — [From Old English lagu something laid down or fixed ; legal comes from Latin legalis , from lex law , statute ( [ searchmode=none Law] , Online Etymology Dictionary; [http://www.merriam… …   Wikipedia

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