Meaning of LAW in English



1. an official rule that everyone must obey

2. the whole system of laws of a country or place

3. part of a law or legal agreement

4. to make a new law

5. ways of saying that a law is officially accepted

6. relating to the law


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1. an official rule that everyone must obey

▷ law /lɔː/ [countable noun]

an official rule that everyone in a country or place must obey :

▪ This law makes it illegal to smoke in public places.

▪ The law defines drunkenness as a certain percentage of alcohol in the blood.

law against

▪ Japan has very strict laws against guns and drugs.

under the law/according to the law

▪ Under the new law, anyone who assists in a suicide faces 10 years in prison.

law on

▪ tough new laws on immigration

▪ Both specific and general laws on child prostitution exist.

tax/gun/immigration etc law

▪ The current gun laws vary from state to state.

▷ legislation /ˌledʒɪsˈleɪʃ ə n, ˌledʒəsˈleɪʃ ə n/ [uncountable noun]

a set of laws, especially ones that are made to control a new problem :

▪ Legislation is needed to stop the spread of computer pornography.

▪ The legislation requires motorcyclists to wear helmets.

legislation on

▪ new legislation on the sale of alcohol

▷ act /ækt/ [countable noun]

a law made by parliament or Congress - used in the official name of a law :

▪ the 1991 Prevention of Terrorism Act

▪ The Wagner Act prohibited employers from firing workers for joining a union.

▷ bill /bɪl/ [countable noun]

a new law that has to be approved by members of the government before it can officially become a law :

▪ Monday’s debate on the defense bill lasted all night.

sign a bill

to approve a bill so that it becomes a law

▪ The president signed a bill that will help more families move from welfare to work.

▷ statute /ˈstætʃuːt/ [countable noun]

a law that has been officially established by the government so that it is written down as the law :

▪ In New Mexico, a state statute permits one minute of silent prayer at the beginning of school.

▪ Unfortunately his lawyer could find no statute or point of law preventing his client’s imprisonment.

▷ bylaw British /ordinance American /ˈbaɪlɔː, ˈɔːʳdə̇nənsǁ-d ə nəns/ [countable noun]

a law made by local government that people in a particular area or place must obey :

▪ Fishing on this river is forbidden under a local bylaw.

▪ a city ordinance prohibiting smoking in government buildings

2. the whole system of laws of a country or place

▷ law /lɔː/ [uncountable noun]

the whole system of laws that everyone in a country or place must obey :

▪ Andrew is studying law at Harvard University.

▪ In 1873 French law was imposed in Vietnam.

break the law

disobey the law

▪ I didn’t realize I was breaking the law.

federal law

American a law that everyone in the nation must obey

state law

American a law that everyone in a state must obey

international law

laws that govern how nations behave toward each other

▪ Refugees are accorded special protection under international law

by law

according to the system of laws

▪ By law, an advertiser can’t use a person’s name for commercial purposes without permission.

against the law

illegal because it is not part of the system of laws

▪ It’s against the law to be drunk in public.

law and order

respect for the system of laws

▪ The soldiers were brought in to restore law and order after the riots.

▷ legal system /ˈliːg ə l ˌsɪstə̇m/ [countable noun]

the laws and the way that they work in a particular country :

▪ Many people here have no faith in the legal system and do not expect to receive justice from it.

▪ The American legal system says that you are innocent until proven guilty.

3. part of a law or legal agreement

▷ article /ˈɑːʳtɪk ə l/ [countable noun]

one of the parts, usually numbered, of a written law or legal agreement :

▪ Article 1 of the constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

▪ The country signed the treaty but then violated each of its 143 articles.

▷ clause /klɔːz/ [countable noun]

a part of a written law or legal document, concerning a particular point or idea :

▪ I was told that this clause would be removed from the contract.

▪ Courts ruled that prayer in school violates a clause of the First Amendment.

▷ loophole /ˈluːphəʊl/ [countable noun]

a detail that is missing from a law or legal document that makes it possible to avoid something in that law :

▪ He pays very little tax because of some loophole in income tax legislation.

close a loophole

to add details to a law so that there is no way for people to avoid following it

▪ The new rules will close loopholes in British immigration law.

4. to make a new law

▷ pass /pɑːsǁpæs/ [transitive verb]

to accept a new law in a government or parliament, so that it officially becomes a law :

▪ Congress has passed an education-reform law.

▪ The law was passed with only a few MPs voting against.

▷ legislate /ˈledʒɪsleɪt, ˈledʒəsleɪt/ [intransitive/transitive verb]

to officially make laws that are intended to control a particular activity or situation :

legislate against

▪ Should parliament legislate against experiments on animals?

legislate on

▪ The government was under a lot of public pressure to legislate on equal pay.

legislate for

▪ Thomas Jefferson said that Britain had no right to legislate for its American colonies.

legislate something


▪ States are legislating stricter automobile safety measures for young children.

5. ways of saying that a law is officially accepted

▷ become law /bɪˌkʌm ˈlɔː/ [verb phrase]

if a new or suggested law becomes law, it is officially accepted and starts to exist :

▪ The Education Bill finally became law last month.

▪ Until the Food Protection Bill became law, the ministry had no power to ban dangerous pesticides.

▷ get onto/reach the statute book British also be on the books American /ˌget ɒntə, ˌriːtʃ ðə ˈstætʃuːt bʊk, biː ɒn ðə ˈbʊks/ [verb phrase]

if a law gets onto the statute book, it officially becomes a law :

▪ The Employment Bill was passed in 1982 but did not reach the statute book until 1984.

▪ The laws have been on the books for decades, but city officials failed to enforce them.

6. relating to the law

▷ legal /ˈliːg ə l/ [adjective only before noun]

connected with laws and courts :

legal advice

▪ People on low salaries can get free legal advice.

legal battle/dispute

when two people or organizations disagree about something, and this is judged in a court of law

▪ Neither side wanted a long and expensive legal battle.

legal fees

money you have to pay lawyers

▪ The American government does not pay the legal fees of Americans who are arrested abroad.

▷ legislative /ˈledʒɪslətɪv, ˈledʒəslətɪvǁ-leɪtɪv/ [adjective only before noun]

connected with making laws :

legislative assembly/council/body

▪ The Liberal Party has won control of the legislative assembly.

legislative power/authority/control

▪ Legislative authority rests with parliament.

▪ The U.S. president has no legislative power, but he can make recommendations.

Longman Activator English vocab.      Английский словарь Longman активатор .