- 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. 2018
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
- the rule of law established and maintained by the military in the absence of civil law