1 [mass noun] (often the law) the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties:shooting the birds is against the lawthey were taken to court for breaking the law [as modifier]:law enforcement
[count noun] an individual rule as part of a system of law:a new law was passed to make divorce easier and simpler
systems of law as a subject of study or as the basis of the legal profession:he was still practising law [as modifier]:a law firmlaw students
statute law and the common law.Compare with equity.
something regarded as having binding force or effect:he had supreme control—what he said was law
(the law) informal the police:he’d never been in trouble with the law in his life
2a rule defining correct procedure or behaviour in a sport:the laws of the game
3a statement of fact, deduced from observation, to the effect that a particular natural or scientific phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions are present:the second law of thermodynamics
a generalization based on a fact or event perceived to be recurrent:the first law of American corporate life is that dead wood floats
4 [mass noun] the body of divine commandments as expressed in the Bible or other religious texts.
(the Law) the Pentateuch as distinct from the other parts of the Hebrew Bible (the Prophets and the Writings).
(also the Law of Moses) the precepts of the Pentateuch.
at (or in) law
according to or concerned with the laws of a country:an agreement enforceable at lawa barrister-at-law
be a law unto oneself
behave in a manner that is not conventional or predictable:she was a law unto herself and did what she wanted to do
go to law
British resort to legal action in order to settle a matter:the process of going to law is not as simple as one may imagine
law and order
a situation characterized by respect for and obedience to the rules of a society:his forces were preparing to withdraw from the province after restoring law and order