[ lee-guh-liz-uhm ]
/ ˈli gəˌlɪz əm /
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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.
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OTHER WORDS FROM legalismle·gal·ist, nounle·gal·is·tic, adjectivele·gal·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use legalism in a sentence
This conclusion was, in the view of the Legalist, a reductio ad absurdum of Paulinism.
The Legalist gets his religion at second-hand, mixed with undivine elements.
The legalist practically takes the same view of human nature as the sensualist.
The legalist, desiring to exalt law, in reality stultifies it.
The legalist teaches that we must surrender earth in order to get heaven.Notes on the Book of Genesis|Charles Henry Mackintosh
British Dictionary definitions for legalism
/ (ˈliːɡəˌlɪzəm) /
strict adherence to the law, esp the stressing of the letter of the law rather than its spirit
Derived forms of legalismlegalist, noun, adjective
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