- strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.
- the doctrine that salvation is gained through good works.
- the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws.
- (initial capital letter) (in Chinese philosophy) the principles and practices of a school of political theorists advocating strict legal control over all activities, a system of rewards and punishments uniform for all classes, and an absolute monarchy.
Origin of legalism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for legalism
The tendency of legalism to externalise life has another aspect.What Is and What Might Be
Those who resort to legalism, he has said, ensure their own condemnation.
This was the condition to which Legalism would reduce the Galatians.
Did it sustain the gospel of the grace of God, or the "other gospel" of Legalism?
In the view of Legalism, this is the natural outcome of Pauline teaching.
- strict adherence to the law, esp the stressing of the letter of the law rather than its spirit
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