1 a a rule enacted or customary in a community and recognized as enjoining or prohibiting certain actions and enforced by the imposition of penalties. b a body of such rules (the law of the land; forbidden under Scots law).
2 the controlling influence of laws; a state of respect for laws (law and order).
3 laws collectively as a social system or subject of study (was reading law).
4 (with defining word) any of the specific branches or applications of law (commercial law; law of contract).
5 binding force or effect (their word is law).
6 (prec. by the) a the legal profession. b colloq. the police.
7 the statute and common law (opp. EQUITY).
8 (in pl.) jurisprudence.
9 a the judicial remedy; litigation. b the lawcourts as providing this (go to law).
10 a rule of action or procedure, e.g. in a game, social context, form of art, etc.
11 a regularity in natural occurrences, esp. as formulated or propounded in particular instances (the laws of nature; the law of gravity; Parkinson's law).
12 a divine commandments as expressed in the Bible or other sources. b (Law of Moses) the precepts of the Pentateuch.
Phrases and idioms:
at (or in) law according to the laws. be a law unto oneself do what one feels is right; disregard custom. go to law take legal action; make use of the lawcourts. law-abiding obedient to the laws. law-abidingness obedience to the laws. law agent (in Scotland) a solicitor. law centre Brit. an independent publicly-funded advisory service on legal matters. Law Lord a member of the House of Lords qualified to perform its legal work. law of diminishing returns see DIMINISH. law of nature = natural law. laws of war the limitations on belligerents' action recognized by civilized nations. law term a period appointed for the sitting of lawcourts. lay down the law be dogmatic or authoritarian. take the law into one's own hands redress a grievance by one's own means, esp. by force.
Etymology: OE lagu f. ON lag something 'laid down' or fixed, rel. to LAY(1)
Useful english dictionary. 2012.