Law Definition

laws
noun
laws
All the rules of conduct established and enforced by the authority, legislation, or custom of a given community, state, or other group.
Webster's New World
The body of rules and principles governing the affairs of a community and enforced by a political authority; a legal system.
International law.
American Heritage
The condition of social order and justice created by adherence to such a system.
A breakdown of law and civilized behavior.
American Heritage
Any one of such rules.
Webster's New World
A set of rules or principles dealing with a specific area of a legal system.
Tax law; criminal law.
American Heritage
Synonyms:
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verb
To take legal action (against)
Webster's New World
interjection

(dated) An exclamation of mild surprise; lawks.

Wiktionary
idiom
a law unto (oneself)
  • A totally independent operator:

    An executive who is a law unto herself.

American Heritage
take the law into (one's) own hands
  • To mete out justice as one sees fit without due recourse to law enforcement agencies or the courts.
American Heritage
go to law
  • to take a problem or dispute to a law court for settlement
Webster's New World
lay down the law
  • to give explicit orders in an authoritative manner
  • to give a scolding (to)
Webster's New World
read law
  • to study to become a lawyer
Webster's New World
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Other Word Forms of Law

Noun

Singular:
law
Plural:
laws

Idioms, Phrasal Verbs Related to Law

Origin of Law

  • From Middle English lawe, laȝe, from Old English lagu (“law"), from Old Norse *lagu, an early plural form of lag, lÇ«g (“layer, stratum, a laying in order, measure, stroke, law", literally “something laid down or fixed"), from Proto-Germanic *lagÄ… (“that which is laid down"), from Proto-Indo-European *legh- (“to lie"). Cognate with Icelandic lög (“things laid down, law"), Swedish lag (“law"), Danish lov (“law"). Replaced Old English Ç£ and gesetnes. More at lay.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English from Old English lagu from Old Norse lagu variant of lag that which is laid down legh- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Old English hlāw (“burial mound"). Also spelled low.

    From Wiktionary

  • Compare la.

    From Wiktionary

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