poor law

noun
a law or system of laws providing for the relief or support of the poor at public expense.

Origin:
1745–55

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World English Dictionary
poor law
 
n
English history a law providing for the relief or support of the poor from public, esp parish, funds

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
The darker side of his picture of the human lot may be read in his criticism of the poor law.
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