blue law


noun

any puritanical law that forbids certain practices, especially drinking or working on Sunday, dancing, etc.
Compare sumptuary law.

Origin of blue law

An Americanism dating back to 1775–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for blue laws

blue laws


pl n

US history a number of repressive puritanical laws of the colonial period, forbidding any secular activity on Sundays
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for blue laws

blue laws


Laws that prohibit certain businesses from opening on Sunday or from selling certain items on that day. Blue laws often apply to bars and to alcohol sales. Originally enacted to allow observation of Sunday as a Sabbath, blue laws have come under attack as violating the separation of church and state. The courts, however, have upheld most blue laws, on the basis that their observance has become secular and promotes Sunday as a day of rest and relaxation.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.