Definition of legalism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlēɡəˌlizəm/


1Excessive adherence to law or formula.
Example sentences
  • The resort to legalism has contributed to the present crisis.
  • Today, democracy is above all about formal legalism - the unconditional adherence to a set of formal rules that guarantee society's antagonisms are fully absorbed into the political arena.
  • Christianity is not, as David implied, about escaping eternal damnation by following pages of strict legalism (which is another very common misconception).
1.1 Theology Dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith.
Example sentences
  • There are the two extremes of legalism and antinomianism to avoid.
  • The history of the Church, Coughlin notes, displays periods of both legalism and antinomianism.
  • Yet I think the continued presence of these wrong doctrines has a baleful and divisive influence in Adventism, causing large segments of the denomination to lurch towards legalism and works righteousness.



Pronunciation: /ˈlēɡələst/
noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • They are accused of being legalist, obsessive about detail, hypocritical and self-serving.
  • What he notes in his explanation, however, should give all obsessive-compulsive legalists pause.
  • In explaining his conclusion, Dixon, the strict legalist, relied on a broad political and philosophical notion of the rule of law.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: le·gal·ism

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