Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of law
Meaning of law by Wiktionary Dictionary

law


    Pronunciation

    • ( UK ) enPR: lô, IPA: /lɔː/, X-SAMPA: /lO:/
      • Rhymes: -ɔː
    • ( US ) enPR: lô, IPA: /lɔ/, X-SAMPA: /lO/
    • ( cot–caught merger ) enPR: lä, IPA: /lɑ/, X-SAMPA: /lA/
    • Homophone: lore ( in some non-rhotic accents )

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English lawe, laȝe, from Old English lagu ( “law” ), from Old Norse *lagu, an early plural form of lag, lǫg ( “layer, stratum, a laying in order, measure, stroke, law”, literally “something laid down or fixed” ), from Proto-Germanic *lagan ( “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 ǣ and gesetnes. More at lay .

    Noun

    law ( countable and uncountable; plural: laws )

    1. ( uncountable ) The body of rules and standards issued by a government, or to be applied by courts and similar authorities .
      By law, one is not allowed to own a wallaby in New York City .
    2. A particular such rule .
      A new law forbids driving on that road .
    3. ( more generally ) A written or understood rule that concerns behaviours and the appropriate consequences thereof. Laws are usually associated with mores .
      "Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you" is a good law to follow .
    4. ( sciences, strictly ) A well-established, observed physical characteristic or behavior of nature. The word is used to simply identify "what happens," without implying any explanatory mechanism or causation. Compare to theory .
      Newton's third law of motion states that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. This is one of several laws derived from his general theory expounded in the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica .
    5. ( mathematics ) A statement that is true under specified conditions .
    6. A category of English "common law" petitions that request monetary relief, as opposed to relief in forms other than a monetary judgment; compare to "equity" .
    7. ( cricket ) One of the official rules of cricket as codified by the MCC .
    8. ( slang, uncountable ) The police .
      Here comes the law — run!
    9. ( fantasy ) One of the two metaphysical forces of the world in some fantasy settings, as opposed to chaos .
    Derived terms

    See also

    Etymology 2

    From Old English hlāw ( “burial mound” ). Also spelled low .

    Noun

    law ( plural: laws )

    1. ( obsolete ) a tumulus of stones
    2. ( Scottish and northern dialectal, archaic ) a hill
      You might climb the Law [...] and behold the face of many counties. ( Robert Louis Stevenson Across the Plains, 1892 )

    See also

    Etymology in ODS

    Statistics

    Anagrams



Explanation of law by Wordnet Dictionary

law


    Noun
    1. the learned profession that is mastered by graduate study in a law school and that is responsible for the judicial system

    2. he studied law at Yale
    3. a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society

    4. a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature

    5. the laws of thermodynamics
    6. the branch of philosophy concerned with the law and the principles that lead courts to make the decisions they do

    7. legal document setting forth rules governing a particular kind of activity

    8. there is a law against kidnapping
    9. the force of policemen and officers

    10. the law came looking for him
    11. the collection of rules imposed by authority

    12. civilization presupposes respect for the law


    Definition of law by GCIDE Dictionary

    law


    1. Law ( la ), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. lög, Sw. lag, Dan. lov; cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See Lie to be prostrate.]
      1. In general, a rule of being or of conduct, established by an authority able to enforce its will; a controlling regulation; the mode or order according to which an agent or a power acts.

      ☞ A law may be universal or particular, written or unwritten, published or secret. From the nature of the highest laws a degree of permanency or stability is always implied; but the power which makes a law, or a superior power, may annul or change it.

      These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the Lord made. Lev. xxvi. 46.

      The law of thy God, and the law of the King. Ezra vii. 26.

      As if they would confine the Interminable . . .

      Who made our laws to bind us, not himself. Milton.

      His mind his kingdom, and his will his law. Cowper.

      2. In morals: The will of God as the rule for the disposition and conduct of all responsible beings toward him and toward each other; a rule of living, conformable to righteousness; the rule of action as obligatory on the conscience or moral nature.

      3. The Jewish or Mosaic code, and that part of Scripture where it is written, in distinction from the gospel; hence, also, the Old Testament. Specifically: the first five books of the bible, called also Torah, Pentatech, or Law of Moses.

      What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law . . . But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Rom. iii. 19, 21.

      4. In human government: An organic rule, as a constitution or charter, establishing and defining the conditions of the existence of a state or other organized community. Any edict, decree, order, ordinance, statute, resolution, judicial, decision, usage, etc., or recognized, and enforced, by the controlling authority.

      5. In philosophy and physics: A rule of being, operation, or change, so certain and constant that it is conceived of as imposed by the will of God or by some controlling authority; as, “the law of gravitation; the laws of motion; the law heredity; the laws of thought; the laws of cause and effect; law of self-preservation.”

      6. In mathematics: The rule according to which anything, as the change of value of a variable, or the value of the terms of a series, proceeds; mode or order of sequence.

      7. In arts, works, games, etc.: The rules of construction, or of procedure, conforming to the conditions of success; a principle, maxim; or usage; as, “the laws of poetry, of architecture, of courtesy, or of whist”.

      8. Collectively, the whole body of rules relating to one subject, or emanating from one source; -- including usually the writings pertaining to them, and judicial proceedings under them; as, “divine law; English law; Roman law; the law of real property; insurance law.”

      9. Legal science; jurisprudence; the principles of equity; applied justice.

      Reason is the life of the law; nay, the common law itself is nothing else but reason. Coke.

      Law is beneficence acting by rule. Burke.

      And sovereign Law, that state's collected will

      O'er thrones and globes elate,

      Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill. Sir W. Jones.

      10. Trial by the laws of the land; judicial remedy; litigation; as, “to go law”.

      When every case in law is right. Shak.

      He found law dear and left it cheap. Brougham.

      11. An oath, as in the presence of a court. [Obs.] See Wager of law, under Wager.

      Avogadro's law ( Chem. ), a fundamental conception, according to which, under similar conditions of temperature and pressure, all gases and vapors contain in the same volume the same number of ultimate molecules; -- so named after Avogadro, an Italian scientist. Sometimes called Ampère's law. -- Bode's law ( Astron. ), an approximative empirical expression of the distances of the planets from the sun, as follows: --

      Mer. Ven. Earth. Mars. Aste. Jup. Sat. Uran. Nep.
      4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
      0 3 6 12 24 48 96 192 384
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --- ---
      4 7 10 16 28 52 100 196 388
      5.9 7.3 10 15.2 27.4 52 95.4 192 300

      where each distance ( line third ) is the sum of 4 and a multiple of 3 by the series 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, etc., the true distances being given in the lower line. -- Boyle's law ( Physics ), an expression of the fact, that when an elastic fluid is subjected to compression, and kept at a constant temperature, the product of the pressure and volume is a constant quantity, i. e., the volume is inversely proportioned to the pressure; -- known also as Mariotte's law, and the law of Boyle and Mariotte. -- Brehon laws. See under Brehon. -- Canon law, the body of ecclesiastical law adopted in the Christian Church, certain portions of which ( for example, the law of marriage as existing before the Council of Tent ) were brought to America by the English colonists as part of the common law of the land. Wharton. -- Civil law, a term used by writers to designate Roman law, with modifications thereof which have been made in the different countries into which that law has been introduced. The civil law, instead of the common law,
      prevails in the State of Louisiana. Wharton. -- Commercial law. See Law merchant ( below ). -- Common law. See under Common.la ), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. lög, Sw. lag, Dan. lov; cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See Lie to be prostrate.]
      1. In general, a rule of being or of conduct, established by an authority able to enforce its will; a controlling regulation; the mode or order according to which an agent or a power acts.

      ☞ A law may be universal or particular, written or unwritten, published or secret. From the nature of the highest laws a degree of permanency or stability is always implied; but the power which makes a law, or a superior power, may annul or change it.

      These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the Lord made. Lev. xxvi. 46.

      The law of thy God, and the law of the King. Ezra vii. 26.

      As if they would confine the Interminable . . .

      Who made our laws to bind us, not himself. Milton.

      His mind his kingdom, and his will his law. Cowper.

      2. In morals: The will of God as the rule for the disposition and conduct of all responsible beings toward him and toward each other; a rule of living, conformable to righteousness; the rule of action as obligatory on the conscience or moral nature.

      3. The Jewish or Mosaic code, and that part of Scripture where it is written, in distinction from the gospel; hence, also, the Old Testament. Specifically: the first five books of the bible, called also Torah, Pentatech, or Law of Moses.

      What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law . . . But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Rom. iii. 19, 21.

      4. In human government: An organic rule, as a constitution or charter, establishing and defining the conditions of the existence of a state or other organized community. Any edict, decree, order, ordinance, statute, resolution, judicial, decision, usage, etc., or recognized, and enforced, by the controlling authority.

      5. In philosophy and physics: A rule of being, operation, or change, so certain and constant that it is conceived of as imposed by the will of God or by some controlling authority; as, “the law of gravitation; the laws of motion; the law heredity; the laws of thought; the laws of cause and effect; law of self-preservation.”

      6. In mathematics: The rule according to which anything, as the change of value of a variable, or the value of the terms of a series, proceeds; mode or order of sequence.

      7. In arts, works, games, etc.: The rules of construction, or of procedure, conforming to the conditions of success; a principle, maxim; or usage; as, “the laws of poetry, of architecture, of courtesy, or of whist”.

      8. Collectively, the whole body of rules relating to one subject, or emanating from one source; -- including usually the writings pertaining to them, and judicial proceedings under them; as, “divine law; English law; Roman law; the law of real property; insurance law.”

      9. Legal science; jurisprudence; the principles of equity; applied justice.

      Reason is the life of the law; nay, the common law itself is nothing else but reason. Coke.

      Law is beneficence acting by rule. Burke.

      And sovereign Law, that state's collected will

      O'er thrones and globes elate,

      Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill. Sir W. Jones.

      10. Trial by the laws of the land; judicial remedy; litigation; as, “to go law”.

      When every case in law is right. Shak.

      He found law dear and left it cheap. Brougham.

      11. An oath, as in the presence of a court. [Obs.] See Wager of law, under Wager.

      Avogadro's law ( Chem. ), a fundamental conception, according to which, under similar conditions of temperature and pressure, all gases and vapors contain in the same volume the same number of ultimate molecules; -- so named after Avogadro, an Italian scientist. Sometimes called Ampère's law. -- Bode's law ( Astron. ), an approximative empirical expression of the distances of the planets from the sun, as follows: --

      Mer. Ven. Earth. Mars. Aste. Jup. Sat. Uran. Nep.
      4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
      0 3 6 12 24 48 96 192 384
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --- ---
      4 7 10 16 28 52 100 196 388
      5.9 7.3 10 15.2 27.4 52 95.4 192 300

      where each distance ( line third ) is the sum of 4 and a multiple of 3 by the series 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, etc., the true distances being given in the lower line. -- Boyle's law ( Physics ), an expression of the fact, that when an elastic fluid is subjected to compression, and kept at a constant temperature, the product of the pressure and volume is a constant quantity, i. e., the volume is inversely proportioned to the pressure; -- known also as Mariotte's law, and the law of Boyle and Mariotte. -- Brehon laws. See under Brehon. -- Canon law, the body of ecclesiastical law adopted in the Christian Church, certain portions of which ( for example, the law of marriage as existing before the Council of Tent ) were brought to America by the English colonists as part of the common law of the land. Wharton. -- Civil law, a term used by writers to designate Roman law, with modifications thereof which have been mad
    2. Law , v. t. Same as Lawe, v. t. [Obs.]

    3. Law, interj. [Cf. La.] An exclamation of mild surprise. [Archaic or Low]