the law temporarily imposed upon an area by state or national military forces when civil authority has broken down or during wartime military operations.
the law imposed upon a defeated country or occupied territory by the military forces of the occupying power.
Origin of martial law
First recorded in 1525–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for martial law
The period of spies, and of the severe exercise of martial-law, was not yet reached; and all that was apprehended was detention.Wyandotte|James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for martial law
the rule of law established and maintained by the military in the absence of civil law
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