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legalism

[lee-guh-liz-uh m] /ˈli gəˌlɪz əm/
noun
1.
strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.
2.
Theology.
  1. the doctrine that salvation is gained through good works.
  2. the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws.
3.
(initial capital letter) (in Chinese philosophy) the principles and practices of a school of political theorists advocating strict legal control over all activities, a system of rewards and punishments uniform for all classes, and an absolute monarchy.
Origin
1830-1840
1830-40; legal + -ism
Related forms
legalist, noun
legalistic, adjective
legalistically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for legalist

legalism

/ˈliːɡəˌlɪzəm/
noun
1.
strict adherence to the law, esp the stressing of the letter of the law rather than its spirit
Derived Forms
legalist, noun, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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