Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

law

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun law pronunciation in British English /lɔː/ 
Word Forms
Close
singularlaw
plurallaws
  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.

    See also  law of the jungle
  2. 2
    [uncountable] the profession that includes lawyers and judges
    practise law (=work as a lawyer):

    Anne's been practising law for 20 years.

  3. See also  law of averages

phrases

creep

used with other nouns to describe the unexpected and often unwanted effects of a particular situation or trend

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

sandwich woman

a woman in middle age who has to juggle caring for teenage children and ageing parents with a career

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog