AskDefine | Define legalism

Dictionary Definition

legalism n : strict conformity to the letter of the law rather than its spirit

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A philosophy of focusing on the text of written law to the exclusion of the intent of law, elevating strict adherence to law over justice, mercy and common sense.
  2. A legal axiom; a statement couched as a proverb expressing a rule of law.


Related terms

Extensive Definition

Legalism may refer to:
In philosophy:
In theology:
  • Legalism (theology), a sometimes pejorative term relating to a number of concepts in the Christian theological tradition
legalism in Dutch: Legalisme
legalism in Swedish: Legalism
legalism in Turkish: Legalism (anlam ayrım)
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