Meaning of LAW in English

LAW

/ lɔː; NAmE / noun

SYSTEM OF RULES

1.

(also the law ) [ U ] the whole system of rules that everyone in a country or society must obey :

If they entered the building they would be breaking the law .

In Sweden it is against the law to hit a child.

Defence attorneys can use any means within the law to get their client off.

British schools are now required by law to publish their exam results.

The reforms have recently become law .

Do not think you are above the law (= think that you cannot be punished by the law) .

the need for better law enforcement

( humorous )

Kate's word was law in the Brown household.

2.

[ U ] a particular branch of the law :

company / international / tax, etc. law

—see also canon law , case law , civil law , common law , private law , statute law

ONE RULE

3.

[ C ] law (on sth) | law (against sth) a rule that deals with a particular crime, agreement, etc. :

the 1996 law against the hiring of illegal immigrants

The government has introduced some tough new laws on food hygiene.

strict gun laws

a federal / state law

to pass a law (= officially make it part of the system of laws)

( informal )

There ought to be a law against it!

—see also by-law , licensing laws

SUBJECT / PROFESSION

4.

[ U ] the study of the law as a subject at university, etc.; the profession of being a lawyer :

Jane is studying law.

( NAmE )

He's in law school .

( BrE )

He's at law school.

What made you go into law?

a law firm

POLICE

5.

the law [ sing. ] used to refer to the police and the legal system :

Jim is always getting into trouble with the law.

OF ORGANIZATION / ACTIVITY

6.

[ C ] one of the rules which controls an organization or activity :

the laws of the Church

The first law of kung fu is to defend yourself.

the laws of cricket

OF GOOD BEHAVIOUR

7.

[ C ] a rule for good behaviour or how you should behave in a particular place or situation :

moral laws

the unspoken laws of the street

IN BUSINESS / NATURE / SCIENCE

8.

[ C ] the fact that sth always happens in the same way in an activity or in nature

SYN principle :

the laws of supply and demand

the law of gravity

9.

[ C ] a scientific rule that sb has stated to explain a natural process :

the first law of thermodynamics

—see also Murphy's Law , Parkinson's law , Sod's Law , legal , legalize , legislate

IDIOMS

- be a law unto yourself

- go to law

- law and order

- the law of averages

- the law of the jungle

- lay down the law

- take the law into your own hands

- there's no law against sth

—more at letter noun , possession , rule noun , wrong adjective

••

WORD ORIGIN

Old English lagu , from Old Norse lag something laid down or fixed, of Germanic origin and related to lay (verb).

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.