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law of the jungle

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noun

a system or mode of action in which the strongest survive, presumably as animals in nature or as human beings whose activity is not regulated by the laws or ethics of civilization.

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Origin of law of the jungle

First recorded in 1890–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for law of the jungle

law of the jungle

noun

a state of ruthless competition or self-interest
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

Idioms and Phrases with law of the jungle

law of the jungle

Survival of the strongest, as in The recent price war among airlines was governed by the law of the jungle. This term, alluding to the jungle as a place devoid of ethics where brutality and self-interest reign, was first used by Rudyard Kipling in The Jungle Book (1894).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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