Meaning and definitions of Law


Meaning of Law

Meaning and definition of law – The term ‘law’ is derived from the old Teutonic word ‘lag’ which means fixed, uniform or constant. Different languages have their own term equivalent to law. The Latin term lex or jus or juris, Spanish term ley, French term droit, Sanskrit term Vidhi and Arabi term Kanoon are used for law in respective languages. Likewise, law is called Dharma in Hindu jurisprudence, Hukm in Islamic and res in German. The term Kanoon which is used in Nepali and recognized as our own term but this term is adopted from Arabi.

Law is a body of rules, boundary or limitation, regulations and binding rule of conduct that controls and regulates human behaviors. It also regulates the relations between individuals to individuals and individuals to state. Law is the enforceable body of rules that governs the society by creating rights and duties for people. The rights, liberties and obligations of human beings are regulated through the powerful implementation of law.

The law is a set of rules made by law making authority for the proper regulations of human behaviours in society and to maintain peace and order in the society. Law making authority means federal legislature, provincial legislature or local legislature or modern state. Law is made for the well-being of society and betterment of human life. The main aim of making law is to provide justice to victims.

Generally, the term ‘law‘ refers to the body of rules which governs human conduct. Law is the enforceable body of rules that governs the society by creating rights and duties for the people. Law protects and regulated the rights and duties of citizens. Law is made for the wellbeing and betterment of people and society. Law prohibits unnecessary disturbance to be happen in society by punishing criminals. There is no single, precise and universal accepted meaning and definition of law because jurists beings born in different phases of time. And different jurist define law on the basis of different aspects.

Definition of law

Different jurists have given different meaning and definition of law. They are as follow:

According to Austin, “Law is a command of sovereign backed up by sanctions.”

According to Holland, “Law is a general rule of external human action enforcedby sovereign political authority.”

According to Salmond “Law may be defined as the body of principles recognized and applied by the state in the administration of justice.”

According to Savigny, “Law is a rule of human action and conduct sanctioned by national usage.”

According to Holmes, “The prophecies of what court will do in fact and nothing more pretentious, are What I mean by law.”

According to Vedas, “Law is the King of King and nothing is mighter than law, by whose aid even weaker may prevail over the strong.”

According to Oxford Dictionary, Law are the whole system of rules that everyone in the country or society must obey.”

Definition of law according to school of thought:

  1. Natural law school : According to this school, “Law is the dictate of reasons.”
  2. Analytical School : According to this school, “law is the command of sovereign.”
  3. Historical School : According to this school, “Law is not made but found.”
  4. Sociological School : According to this school, “Law is social engineering.”
  5. Realist School : According to this school, “Law is the practice of court.”
  6. Socialist School : According to this school, “Law is an instrument of exploitation and domination.”


From the above explanation and definition, it is clear that there is no single meaning and definitions of law  because of jurists being born in different point of time. Law is the whole rules that is made by state for regulating human behaviour for maintaining peace and order in society. Law is necessary for regulating and smooth functioning of state. Law is the main tools of every state to control and regulates the conducts of its citizens. Law provides right to its citizens and impose duties. Thus, law is the enforceable body of rules which regulates human behaviour and society that helps to maintain peace and order in society.

Function of Law

Law is body of rules which regulates human behaviours and maintain peace and security in the society. Law punish criminals and provide justice to the victims. Law plays an important role in the society. Society could be lame in the absence of law. Society cannot run smoothly without law. Law is an instrument of social change and social development. The functions of law can be summarized in the following points:

  • To Maintain peace and order in society
  • To prohibits unlawful activities
  • To punish criminals
  • To provide justice
  • To protects rights of people
  • To maintain peace and security

Read this also :

1. Kinds and classification of law

2. Sources of law 

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