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. 2019
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