law ( laws plural )
1 n-sing The law is a system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships. You can also use the law to refer to the people who work in this system.
Obscene and threatening phone calls are against the law..., They are seeking permission to begin criminal proceedings against him for breaking the law on financing political parties..., There must be changes in the law quickly to stop this sort of thing ever happening to anyone else..., The book analyses why women kill and how the law treats them.
2 n-uncount Law is used to refer to a particular branch of the law, such as criminal law or company law.
usu adj N
He was a professor of criminal law at Harvard University law school..., Important questions of constitutional law were involved.
3 n-count A law is one of the rules in a system of law which deals with a particular type of agreement, relationship, or crime.
oft n N
...the country's liberal political asylum law..., The law was passed on a second vote.
4 n-plural Thelawsof an organization or activity are its rules, which are used to organize and control it.
the N of n, supp N
...the laws of the Church of England..., Match officials should not tolerate such behaviour but instead enforce the laws of the game.
5 n-count A law is a rule or set of rules for good behaviour which is considered right and important by the majority of people for moral, religious, or emotional reasons.
...inflexible moral laws.
6 n-count A law is a natural process in which a particular event or thing always leads to a particular result.
The laws of nature are absolute.
7 n-count A law is a scientific rule that someone has invented to explain a particular natural process.
...the law of gravity.
8 n-uncount Law or the law is all the professions which deal with advising people about the law, representing people in court, or giving decisions and punishments.
A career in law is becoming increasingly attractive to young people..., Nearly 100 law firms are being referred to the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal.
9 n-uncount Law is the study of systems of law and how laws work.
He came to Oxford and studied law..., He holds a law degree from Bristol University.
court of law
rule of law
11 If you accuse someone of thinking they are above the law, you criticize them for thinking that they are so clever or important that they do not need to obey the law.
above the law phrase v-link PHR (disapproval)
One opposition member of parliament accuses the government of wanting to be above the law...
12 The law of averages is the idea that something is sure to happen at some time, because of the number of times it generally happens or is expected to happen.
the law of averages phrase
On the law of averages we just can't go on losing.
13 If you have to do something by law or if you are not allowed to do something by law, the law states that you have to do it or that you are not allowed to do it.
by law phrase PHR with cl
By law all restaurants must display their prices outside...
14 If you say that someone lays down the law, you are critical of them because they give other people orders and they think that they are always right.
lay down the law phrase V inflects (disapproval)
...traditional parents, who believed in laying down the law for their offspring.
15 If someone takes the law into their own hands, they punish someone or do something to put a situation right, instead of waiting for the police or the legal system to take action.
take the law into your own hands phrase V inflects
The speeding motorist was pinned to the ground by angry locals who took the law into their own hands until police arrived.
16 If you say that someone is a law unto himself or herself, you mean that they behave in an independent way, ignoring laws, rules, or conventional ways of doing things.
a law unto yourself phrase v-link PHR
Some of the landowners were a law unto themselves. There was nobody to check their excesses and they exploited the people.