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natural law

See more synonyms for natural law on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a principle or body of laws considered as derived from nature, right reason, or religion and as ethically binding in human society.
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Compare positive law.

Origin of natural law

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

righteousnessgoodnesshonestymoresintegrityethicconductidealimperativeconventionethosconsciencebeliefnaturepracticestandarddecencymoralityvaluehonor

Examples from the Web for natural law

Historical Examples

  • When the natural-law foundation of enforcing promises crumbled, the metaphysical jurists sought to provide a new one.

    An Introduction to the Philosophy of Law

    Roscoe Pound


British Dictionary definitions for natural law

natural law

noun
  1. an ethical belief or system of beliefs supposed to be inherent in human nature and discoverable by reason rather than revelation
  2. a nonlogically necessary truth; law of natureSee also nomological (def. 2)
  3. the philosophical doctrine that the authority of the legal system or of certain laws derives from their justifiability by reason, and indeed that a legal system which cannot be so justified has no authority
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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

natural law in Culture

natural law

The doctrine that human affairs should be governed by ethical principles that are part of the very nature of things and that can be understood by reason. The first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence contain a clear statement of the doctrine.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.