Law | Definition, Etymology, Synonyms & Antonyms

Law

Law (noun)

Definition

Law refers to a system of rules, regulations, and principles established and enforced by a government or authority to govern the behavior of individuals and groups within a society. Laws aim to maintain order, protect rights, resolve disputes, and promote justice.

Etymology

The word "law" traces its origins back to the Old English word "lagu," which is derived from the Old Norse word "lag," meaning "law" or "layer." The term has cognates in other Germanic languages, such as "recht" in German and "lov" in Danish.

Synonyms

  • Statute
  • Regulation
  • Rule
  • Ordinance
  • Code
  • Legislation

Antonyms

  • Anarchy (absence of laws or governance)
  • Lawlessness
  • Disorder

Example

A unique example of law is "Hammurabi's Code." Hammurabi's Code, also known as the Code of Hammurabi, is one of the oldest known legal codes in history. It was enacted by Hammurabi, the ruler of ancient Babylon, around 1754 BCE. The code consists of 282 laws that cover various aspects of Babylonian society, including commerce, property, family, and criminal justice.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who creates and enforces laws?

Laws are created by legislative bodies, such as parliaments or congresses, depending on the country's political system. The enforcement of laws is carried out by the executive branch of the government, including law enforcement agencies and administrative bodies.

What is the purpose of laws in society?

The primary purposes of laws in society are to maintain order, protect individual rights, ensure justice, resolve conflicts, and promote the general welfare of the community. Laws provide a framework for governance and guide people's behavior within a society.

What happens when laws conflict with each other?

When laws conflict, legal systems typically employ principles of hierarchy and interpretation to resolve the conflict. In some cases, higher-ranking laws, such as a constitution, take precedence over lower-ranking laws. Courts may also interpret laws and their intent to resolve conflicts.

How are laws enforced and upheld?

Laws are enforced by government agencies, police, and the judicial system. Violations of laws can result in penalties, such as fines, imprisonment, or other forms of punishment. Courts play a crucial role in upholding laws by interpreting and applying them to specific cases.

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