- 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 legalistic
Al-Mughni's statement was technical, legalistic, convoluted and entirely unconvincing.PA Must Stop Censoring Internet
May 1, 2012
They are apt to be conventional, legalistic, and maintainers of the status quo.Herein is Love
Reuel L. Howe
The limitations of the Secretary of State are the limitations of a legalistic mind.Behind the Mirrors
Clinton W. Gilbert
At any rate, the danger of a legalistic propaganda either in Philippi or in Rome does not seem to be very seriously in view.The Literature and History of New Testament Times
J. Gresham (John Gresham) Machen
Then if he has time left, he may devote it to legalistic discussions, and there would be no harm.A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy
No amount of legalistic argument can becloud this issue in the eyes of these ten million American citizens.State of the Union Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
- of, relating to, or exhibiting strict adherence to the law, esp to the letter of the law rather than its spirit
- 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
Word Origin and History for legalistic
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper