Definition of legalism in English:

legalism

noun

mass noun
  • 1Excessive adherence to law or formula.

    ‘this petty legalism encouraged more to flee’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But in this legislation I see there is no freedom to choose; there is just legalism, which binds people.’
    • ‘To view it differently is to prefer brain-dead legalism to survival.’
    • ‘Its political culture, once fiercely democratic, is being eroded by a manipulated, bureaucratic legalism that identifies dissent as disloyalty.’
    • ‘And none of these ancient writers has seemed to me to lead to any sort of legalism.’
    • ‘The resort to legalism has contributed to the present crisis.’
    • ‘The legalism was too tough and the first empire that tried it, the Qin empire, which gave China its name lasted only two emperors, then got kicked out.’
    • ‘On nonproliferation, India believes that the vacuous legalism of the current nonproliferation regime will lead the world nowhere.’
    • ‘I think we get into law and legalism, and we don't understand that it's really, really human to err.’
    • ‘Canadian science-based risk regulation has ample room to move away from closed-door bargaining and its lack of public accountability, without falling into the pitfalls of American pluralist legalism.’
    • ‘Christianity is not, as David implied, about escaping eternal damnation by following pages of strict legalism (which is another very common misconception).’
    • ‘It is equally clear from the objects section that the legalism of the Employment Contracts Act era is no longer a useful construction of the employment relationship.’
    • ‘I ask only because the ‘debate’ about the use of this horrible substance appears to be sliding into maze of legalism and moralism.’
    • ‘In this kingdom of strict and complete legalism, it was considered that the judge certainly never made new law himself, he had no democratic legitimacy to reform the law or to express views on what the law should be.’
    1. 1.1Theology Adherence to moral law rather than to personal religious faith.
      ‘stress obedience apart from faith and you produce legalism’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As in many things, we must walk that line between legalism or pietism on the one hand and licentiousness on the other.’
      • ‘The history of the Church, Coughlin notes, displays periods of both legalism and antinomianism.’
      • ‘What it amounts to is the idea of moral legalism, that one should outlaw all wrongdoing.’
      • ‘There are the two extremes of legalism and antinomianism to avoid.’

Pronunciation

legalism

/ˈliːɡ(ə)lɪz(ə)m/