law - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable] an official rule that people must obey

    The new law will be passed by Parliament in the spring.

    break a law (=do something illegal):

    Several traffic laws had been broken.

    law against:

    a law against shoplifting

    law on:

    a new law on gun ownership

    1. a.
      [singular/uncountable] a system of rules within a country, region, or community dealing with people’s behaviour and activities
      against the law (=illegal):

      It is against the law to park on a double yellow line.

      break the law (=do something illegal):

      The local authority is prepared to prosecute them for breaking the law.

      obey the law:

      Local officials are reminding people to obey the law and not sell fireworks to children under sixteen.

      by/under law (=according to the law):

      Any changes are required by law to be in writing.

      within the law (=legal or legally):

      They pledged to work within the law to bring about change.

      above the law (=allowed to not obey the law):

      Neither the government nor any official is above the law.

      become law (=be made a law):

      The bill could become law as soon as next year.

      enforce the law (=punish people who do not obey it):

      It is the Attorney-General’s job to enforce the law, not the White House’s.

    2. b.
      [uncountable] a set of rules within a larger system that deal with a particular subject or area
    3. d.
  2. 2
    [uncountable] the profession that includes lawyers and judges
    practise law (=work as a lawyer):

    Anne’s been practising law for 20 years.

    1. a.
      [only before noun] relating to this profession, to courts, or to a legal system

      a law firm

  3. 3
    [uncountable] the area of knowledge or study dealing with systems of rules and the way that they work

    Both of them are studying law at university.

    1. a.
      [only before noun] relating to this area of knowledge or study
See also