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legalism Line breaks: le¦gal|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈliːɡ(ə)lɪz(ə)m/

Definition of legalism in English:


[mass noun]
1Excessive adherence to law or formula: this petty legalism encouraged more to flee
More 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 Adherence to moral law rather than to personal religious faith: stress obedience apart from faith and you produce legalism
More 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: /ˈliːɡəlɪst/
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.


Pronunciation: /liːɡəˈlɪstɪk/
Example sentences
  • This insulting, legalistic defense of a policy gone astray is becoming tiresome.
  • Let's work on the problem and not get tied up in legalistic discussions.
  • But there were occasional moments of compelling clarity in the fog of legalistic jargon.


Pronunciation: /liːɡəˈlɪstɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • Saturday's rally reminded me of the dangers of defining free speech legalistically.
  • Now, on the one hand its legal system is administered overly legalistically, as illustrated in the examples above.
  • As with misconduct allegations, there is a preliminary screening process, but the intention is that cases will be treated clinically rather than legalistically.

Definition of legalism in:

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Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly