Hypertext Webster Gateway: "law"

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (easton)

a rule of action. (1.) The Law of Nature is the will of God as
to human conduct, founded on the moral difference of things, and
discoverable by natural light (Rom. 1:20; 2:14, 15). This law
binds all men at all times. It is generally designated by the
term conscience, or the capacity of being influenced by the
moral relations of things.

(2.) The Ceremonial Law prescribes under the Old Testament the
rites and ceremonies of worship. This law was obligatory only
till Christ, of whom these rites were typical, had finished his
work (Heb. 7:9, 11; 10:1; Eph. 2:16). It was fulfilled rather
than abrogated by the gospel.

(3.) The Judicial Law, the law which directed the civil policy
of the Hebrew nation.

(4.) The Moral Law is the revealed will of God as to human
conduct, binding on all men to the end of time. It was
promulgated at Sinai. It is perfect (Ps. 19:7), perpetual (Matt.
5:17, 18), holy (Rom. 7:12), good, spiritual (14), and exceeding
broad (Ps. 119:96). Although binding on all, we are not under it
as a covenant of works (Gal. 3:17). (See {COMMANDMENTS}.)

(5.) Positive Laws are precepts founded only on the will of
God. They are right because God commands them.

(6.) Moral positive laws are commanded by God because they are

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Law \Law\ (l[add]), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root
of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. l["o]g, Sw. lag, Dan. lov;
cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or
fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See
{Lie} to be prostrate.]
1. In general, a rule of being or of conduct, established by
an authority able to enforce its will; a controlling
regulation; the mode or order according to which an agent
or a power acts.

Note: A law may be universal or particular, written or
unwritten, published or secret. From the nature of the
highest laws a degree of permanency or stability is
always implied; but the power which makes a law, or a
superior power, may annul or change it.

These are the statutes and judgments and law,
which the Lord made. --Lev. xxvi.

The law of thy God, and the law of the King.
--Ezra vii.

As if they would confine the Interminable . . .
Who made our laws to bind us, not himself.

His mind his kingdom, and his will his law.

2. In morals: The will of God as the rule for the disposition
and conduct of all responsible beings toward him and
toward each other; a rule of living, conformable to
righteousness; the rule of action as obligatory on the
conscience or moral nature.

3. The Jewish or Mosaic code, and that part of Scripture
where it is written, in distinction from the gospel;
hence, also, the Old Testament.

What things soever the law saith, it saith to them
who are under the law . . . But now the
righteousness of God without the law is manifested,
being witnessed by the law and the prophets. --Rom.
iii. 19, 21.

4. In human government:
(a) An organic rule, as a constitution or charter,
establishing and defining the conditions of the
existence of a state or other organized community.
(b) Any edict, decree, order, ordinance, statute,
resolution, judicial, decision, usage, etc., or
recognized, and enforced, by the controlling

5. In philosophy and physics: A rule of being, operation, or
change, so certain and constant that it is conceived of as
imposed by the will of God or by some controlling
authority; as, the law of gravitation; the laws of motion;
the law heredity; the laws of thought; the laws of cause
and effect; law of self-preservation.

6. In matematics: The rule according to which anything, as
the change of value of a variable, or the value of the
terms of a series, proceeds; mode or order of sequence.

7. In arts, works, games, etc.: The rules of construction, or
of procedure, conforming to the conditions of success; a
principle, maxim; or usage; as, the laws of poetry, of
architecture, of courtesy, or of whist.

8. Collectively, the whole body of rules relating to one
subject, or emanating from one source; -- including
usually the writings pertaining to them, and judicial
proceedings under them; as, divine law; English law; Roman
law; the law of real property; insurance law.

9. Legal science; jurisprudence; the principles of equity;
applied justice.

Reason is the life of the law; nay, the common law
itself is nothing else but reason. --Coke.

Law is beneficence acting by rule. --Burke.

And sovereign Law, that state's collected will O'er
thrones and globes elate, Sits empress, crowning
good, repressing ill. --Sir W.

10. Trial by the laws of the land; judicial remedy;
litigation; as, to go law.

When every case in law is right. --Shak.

He found law dear and left it cheap. --Brougham.

11. An oath, as in the presence of a court. [Obs.] See {Wager
of law}, under {Wager}.

{Avogadro's law} (Chem.), a fundamental conception, according
to which, under similar conditions of temperature and
pressure, all gases and vapors contain in the same volume
the same number of ultimate molecules; -- so named after
Avogadro, an Italian scientist. Sometimes called
{Amp[`e]re's law}.

{Bode's law} (Astron.), an approximative empirical expression
of the distances of the planets from the sun, as follows:
-- Mer. Ven. Earth. Mars. Aste. Jup. Sat. Uran. Nep. 4 4 4
4 4 4 4 4 4 0 3 6 12 24 48 96 192 384 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
--- --- 4 7 10 16 28 52 100 196 388 5.9 7.3 10 15.2 27.4
52 95.4 192 300 where each distance (line third) is the
sum of 4 and a multiple of 3 by the series 0, 1, 2, 4, 8,
etc., the true distances being given in the lower line.

{Boyle's law} (Physics), an expression of the fact, that when
an elastic fluid is subjected to compression, and kept at
a constant temperature, the product of the pressure and
volume is a constant quantity, i. e., the volume is
inversely proportioned to the pressure; -- known also as
{Mariotte's law}, and the {law of Boyle and Mariotte}.

{Brehon laws}. See under {Brehon}.

{Canon law}, the body of ecclesiastical law adopted in the
Christian Church, certain portions of which (for example,
the law of marriage as existing before the Council of
Tent) were brought to America by the English colonists as
part of the common law of the land. --Wharton.

{Civil law}, a term used by writers to designate Roman law,
with modifications thereof which have been made in the
different countries into which that law has been
introduced. The civil law, instead of the common law,
prevails in the State of Louisiana. --Wharton.

{Commercial law}. See {Law merchant} (below).

{Common law}. See under {Common}.

{Criminal law}, that branch of jurisprudence which relates to

{Ecclesiastical law}. See under {Ecclesiastical}.

{Grimm's law} (Philol.), a statement (propounded by the
German philologist Jacob Grimm) of certain regular changes
which the primitive Indo-European mute consonants,
so-called (most plainly seen in Sanskrit and, with some
changes, in Greek and Latin), have undergone in the
Teutonic languages. Examples: Skr. bh[=a]tr, L. frater, E.
brother, G. bruder; L. tres, E. three, G. drei, Skr. go,
E. cow, G. kuh; Skr. dh[=a] to put, Gr. ti-qe`-nai, E. do,
OHG, tuon, G. thun.

{Kepler's laws} (Astron.), three important laws or
expressions of the order of the planetary motions,
discovered by John Kepler. They are these: (1) The orbit
of a planet with respect to the sun is an ellipse, the sun
being in one of the foci. (2) The areas swept over by a
vector drawn from the sun to a planet are proportioned to
the times of describing them. (3) The squares of the times
of revolution of two planets are in the ratio of the cubes
of their mean distances.

{Law binding}, a plain style of leather binding, used for law
books; -- called also {law calf}.

{Law book}, a book containing, or treating of, laws.

{Law calf}. See {Law binding} (above).

{Law day}.
(a) Formerly, a day of holding court, esp. a court-leet.
(b) The day named in a mortgage for the payment of the
money to secure which it was given. [U. S.]

{Law French}, the dialect of Norman, which was used in
judicial proceedings and law books in England from the
days of William the Conqueror to the thirty-sixth year of
Edward III.

{Law language}, the language used in legal writings and

{Law Latin}. See under {Latin}.

{Law lords}, peers in the British Parliament who have held
high judicial office, or have been noted in the legal

{Law merchant}, or {Commercial law}, a system of rules by
which trade and commerce are regulated; -- deduced from
the custom of merchants, and regulated by judicial
decisions, as also by enactments of legislatures.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

{Law of Charles} (Physics), the law that the volume of a
given mass of gas increases or decreases, by a definite
fraction of its value for a given rise or fall of
temperature; -- sometimes less correctly styled {Gay
Lussac's law}, or {Dalton's law}.

{Law of nations}. See {International law}, under

{Law of nature}.
(a) A broad generalization expressive of the constant
action, or effect, of natural conditions; as, death
is a law of nature; self-defense is a law of nature.
See {Law}, 4.
(b) A term denoting the standard, or system, of morality
deducible from a study of the nature and natural
relations of human beings independent of supernatural
revelation or of municipal and social usages.

{Law of the land}, due process of law; the general law of the

{Laws of honor}. See under {Honor}.

{Laws of motion} (Physics), three laws defined by Sir Isaac
Newton: (1) Every body perseveres in its state of rest or
of moving uniformly in a straight line, except so far as
it is made to change that state by external force. (2)
Change of motion is proportional to the impressed force,
and takes place in the direction in which the force is
impressed. (3) Reaction is always equal and opposite to
action, that is to say, the actions of two bodies upon
each other are always equal and in opposite directions.

{Marine law}, or {Maritime law}, the law of the sea; a branch
of the law merchant relating to the affairs of the sea,
such as seamen, ships, shipping, navigation, and the like.

{Mariotte's law}. See {Boyle's law} (above).

{Martial law}.See under {Martial}.

{Military law}, a branch of the general municipal law,
consisting of rules ordained for the government of the
military force of a state in peace and war, and
administered in courts martial. --Kent. Warren's

{Moral law},the law of duty as regards what is right and
wrong in the sight of God; specifically, the ten
commandments given by Moses. See {Law}, 2.

{Mosaic}, or {Ceremonial}, {law}. (Script.) See {Law}, 3.

{Municipal}, or {Positive}, {law}, a rule prescribed by the
supreme power of a state, declaring some right, enforcing
some duty, or prohibiting some act; -- distinguished from
international and constitutional law. See {Law}, 1.

{Periodic law}. (Chem.) See under {Periodic}.

{Roman law}, the system of principles and laws found in the
codes and treatises of the lawmakers and jurists of
ancient Rome, and incorporated more or less into the laws
of the several European countries and colonies founded by
them. See {Civil law} (above).

{Statute law}, the law as stated in statutes or positive
enactments of the legislative body.

{Sumptuary law}. See under {Sumptuary}.

{To go to law}, to seek a settlement of any matter by
bringing it before the courts of law; to sue or prosecute
some one.

{To} {take, or have}, {the law of}, to bring the law to bear
upon; as, to take the law of one's neighbor. --Addison.

{Wager of law}. See under {Wager}.

Syn: Justice; equity.

Usage: {Law}, {Statute}, {Common law}, {Regulation}, {Edict},
{Decree}. Law is generic, and, when used with
reference to, or in connection with, the other words
here considered, denotes whatever is commanded by one
who has a right to require obedience. A statute is a
particular law drawn out in form, and distinctly
enacted and proclaimed. Common law is a rule of action
founded on long usage and the decisions of courts of
justice. A regulation is a limited and often,
temporary law, intended to secure some particular end
or object. An edict is a command or law issued by a
sovereign, and is peculiar to a despotic government. A
decree is a permanent order either of a court or of
the executive government. See {Justice}.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Law \Law\, v. t.
Same as {Lawe}, v. t. [Obs.]

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Law \Law\, interj. [Cf. {La}.]
An exclamation of mild surprise. [Archaic or Low]

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: legal document setting forth rules governing a particular
kind of activity; "there is a law against kidnapping"
2: the collection of rules imposed by authority; "civilization
presupposes respect for the law" [syn: {jurisprudence}]
3: a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in
nature: "the laws of thermodynamics" [syn: {law of nature}]
4: a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature
and essential to or binding upon human society [syn: {natural
5: the learned profession that is mastered by graduate study in
a law school and that is responsible for the judicial
system; "he studied law at Yale" [syn: {practice of law}]
6: the force of policemen and officers; "the law came looking
for him" [syn: {police}, {police force}, {constabulary}]
7: the branch of philosophy concerned with the law [syn: {jurisprudence},
{legal philosophy}]

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