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.
Words nearby martial law
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