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4 definitions found
 for common law
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Common \Com"mon\, a. [Compar. Commoner; superl. Commonest.]
     [OE. commun, comon, OF. comun, F. commun, fr. L. communis;
     com- + munis ready to be of service; cf. Skr. mi to make
     fast, set up, build, Goth. gamains common, G. gemein, and E.
     mean low, common. Cf. Immunity, Commune, n. & v.]
     1. Belonging or relating equally, or similarly, to more than
        one; as, you and I have a common interest in the property.
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              Though life and sense be common to men and brutes.
                                                    --Sir M. Hale.
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     2. Belonging to or shared by, affecting or serving, all the
        members of a class, considered together; general; public;
        as, properties common to all plants; the common schools;
        the Book of Common Prayer.
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              Such actions as the common good requireth. --Hooker.
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              The common enemy of man.              --Shak.
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     3. Often met with; usual; frequent; customary.
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              Grief more than common grief.         --Shak.
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     4. Not distinguished or exceptional; inconspicuous; ordinary;
        plebeian; -- often in a depreciatory sense.
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              The honest, heart-felt enjoyment of common life.
                                                    --W. Irving.
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              This fact was infamous
              And ill beseeming any common man,
              Much more a knight, a captain and a leader. --Shak.
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              Above the vulgar flight of common souls. --A.
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     5. Profane; polluted. [Obs.]
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              What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
                                                    --Acts x. 15.
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     6. Given to habits of lewdness; prostitute.
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              A dame who herself was common.        --L'Estrange.
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     Common bar (Law) Same as Blank bar, under Blank.
     Common barrator (Law), one who makes a business of
        instigating litigation.
     Common Bench, a name sometimes given to the English Court
        of Common Pleas.
     Common brawler (Law), one addicted to public brawling and
        quarreling. See Brawler.
     Common carrier (Law), one who undertakes the office of
        carrying (goods or persons) for hire. Such a carrier is
        bound to carry in all cases when he has accommodation, and
        when his fixed price is tendered, and he is liable for all
        losses and injuries to the goods, except those which
        happen in consequence of the act of God, or of the enemies
        of the country, or of the owner of the property himself.
     Common chord (Mus.), a chord consisting of the fundamental
        tone, with its third and fifth.
     Common council, the representative (legislative) body, or
        the lower branch of the representative body, of a city or
        other municipal corporation.
     Common crier, the crier of a town or city.
     Common divisor (Math.), a number or quantity that divides
        two or more numbers or quantities without a remainder; a
        common measure.
     Common gender (Gram.), the gender comprising words that may
        be of either the masculine or the feminine gender.
     Common law, a system of jurisprudence developing under the
        guidance of the courts so as to apply a consistent and
        reasonable rule to each litigated case. It may be
        superseded by statute, but unless superseded it controls.
     Note: It is by others defined as the unwritten law
           (especially of England), the law that receives its
           binding force from immemorial usage and universal
           reception, as ascertained and expressed in the
           judgments of the courts. This term is often used in
           contradistinction from statute law. Many use it to
           designate a law common to the whole country. It is also
           used to designate the whole body of English (or other)
           law, as distinguished from its subdivisions, local,
           civil, admiralty, equity, etc. See Law.
     Common lawyer, one versed in common law.
     Common lewdness (Law), the habitual performance of lewd
        acts in public.
     Common multiple (Arith.) See under Multiple.
     Common noun (Gram.), the name of any one of a class of
        objects, as distinguished from a proper noun (the name of
        a particular person or thing).
     Common nuisance (Law), that which is deleterious to the
        health or comfort or sense of decency of the community at
     Common pleas, one of the three superior courts of common
        law at Westminster, presided over by a chief justice and
        four puisne judges. Its jurisdiction is confined to civil
        matters. Courts bearing this title exist in several of the
        United States, having, however, in some cases, both civil
        and criminal jurisdiction extending over the whole State.
        In other States the jurisdiction of the common pleas is
        limited to a county, and it is sometimes called a county
        court. Its powers are generally defined by statute.
     Common prayer, the liturgy of the Church of England, or of
        the Protestant Episcopal church of the United States,
        which all its clergy are enjoined to use. It is contained
        in the Book of Common Prayer.
     Common school, a school maintained at the public expense,
        and open to all.
     Common scold (Law), a woman addicted to scolding
        indiscriminately, in public.
     Common seal, a seal adopted and used by a corporation.
     Common sense.
        (a) A supposed sense which was held to be the common bond
            of all the others. [Obs.] --Trench.
        (b) Sound judgment. See under Sense.
     Common time (Mus.), that variety of time in which the
        measure consists of two or of four equal portions.
     In common, equally with another, or with others; owned,
        shared, or used, in community with others; affecting or
        affected equally.
     Out of the common, uncommon; extraordinary.
     Tenant in common, one holding real or personal property in
        common with others, having distinct but undivided
        interests. See Joint tenant, under Joint.
     To make common cause with, to join or ally one's self with.
     Syn: General; public; popular; national; universal; frequent;
          ordinary; customary; usual; familiar; habitual; vulgar;
          mean; trite; stale; threadbare; commonplace. See
          Mutual, Ordinary, General.
          [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Law \Law\ (l[add]), n. [OE. lawe, laghe, AS. lagu, from the root
     of E. lie: akin to OS. lag, Icel. l["o]g, Sw. lag, Dan. lov;
     cf. L. lex, E. legal. A law is that which is laid, set, or
     fixed; like statute, fr. L. statuere to make to stand. See
     Lie to be prostrate.]
     1. In general, a rule of being or of conduct, established by
        an authority able to enforce its will; a controlling
        regulation; the mode or order according to which an agent
        or a power acts.
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     Note: A law may be universal or particular, written or
           unwritten, published or secret. From the nature of the
           highest laws a degree of permanency or stability is
           always implied; but the power which makes a law, or a
           superior power, may annul or change it.
           [1913 Webster]
                 These are the statutes and judgments and laws,
                 which the Lord made.               --Lev. xxvi.
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                 The law of thy God, and the law of the King.
                                                    --Ezra vii.
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                 As if they would confine the Interminable . . .
                 Who made our laws to bind us, not himself.
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                 His mind his kingdom, and his will his law.
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     2. In morals: The will of God as the rule for the disposition
        and conduct of all responsible beings toward him and
        toward each other; a rule of living, conformable to
        righteousness; the rule of action as obligatory on the
        conscience or moral nature.
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     3. The Jewish or Mosaic code, and that part of Scripture
        where it is written, in distinction from the gospel;
        hence, also, the Old Testament. Specifically: the first
        five books of the bible, called also Torah, Pentatech,
        or Law of Moses.
        [1913 Webster +PJC]
              What things soever the law saith, it saith to them
              who are under the law . . . But now the
              righteousness of God without the law is manifested,
              being witnessed by the law and the prophets. --Rom.
                                                    iii. 19, 21.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. In human government:
        (a) An organic rule, as a constitution or charter,
            establishing and defining the conditions of the
            existence of a state or other organized community.
        (b) Any edict, decree, order, ordinance, statute,
            resolution, judicial, decision, usage, etc., or
            recognized, and enforced, by the controlling
            [1913 Webster]
     5. In philosophy and physics: A rule of being, operation, or
        change, so certain and constant that it is conceived of as
        imposed by the will of God or by some controlling
        authority; as, the law of gravitation; the laws of motion;
        the law heredity; the laws of thought; the laws of cause
        and effect; law of self-preservation.
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     6. In mathematics: The rule according to which anything, as
        the change of value of a variable, or the value of the
        terms of a series, proceeds; mode or order of sequence.
        [1913 Webster]
     7. In arts, works, games, etc.: The rules of construction, or
        of procedure, conforming to the conditions of success; a
        principle, maxim; or usage; as, the laws of poetry, of
        architecture, of courtesy, or of whist.
        [1913 Webster]
     8. Collectively, the whole body of rules relating to one
        subject, or emanating from one source; -- including
        usually the writings pertaining to them, and judicial
        proceedings under them; as, divine law; English law; Roman
        law; the law of real property; insurance law.
        [1913 Webster]
     9. Legal science; jurisprudence; the principles of equity;
        applied justice.
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              Reason is the life of the law; nay, the common law
              itself is nothing else but reason.    --Coke.
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              Law is beneficence acting by rule.    --Burke.
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              And sovereign Law, that state's collected will
              O'er thrones and globes elate,
              Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill. --Sir
                                                    W. Jones.
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     10. Trial by the laws of the land; judicial remedy;
         litigation; as, to go law.
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               When every case in law is right.     --Shak.
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               He found law dear and left it cheap. --Brougham.
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     11. An oath, as in the presence of a court. [Obs.] See Wager
         of law, under Wager.
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     Avogadro's law (Chem.), a fundamental conception, according
        to which, under similar conditions of temperature and
        pressure, all gases and vapors contain in the same volume
        the same number of ultimate molecules; -- so named after
        Avogadro, an Italian scientist. Sometimes called
        Amp[`e]re's law.
     Bode's law (Astron.), an approximative empirical expression
        of the distances of the planets from the sun, as follows:
        -- Mer. Ven. Earth. Mars. Aste. Jup. Sat. Uran. Nep. 4 4 4
        4 4 4 4 4 4 0 3 6 12 24 48 96 192 384 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
        --- --- 4 7 10 16 28 52 100 196 388 5.9 7.3 10 15.2 27.4
        52 95.4 192 300 where each distance (line third) is the
        sum of 4 and a multiple of 3 by the series 0, 1, 2, 4, 8,
        etc., the true distances being given in the lower line.
     Boyle's law (Physics), an expression of the fact, that when
        an elastic fluid is subjected to compression, and kept at
        a constant temperature, the product of the pressure and
        volume is a constant quantity, i. e., the volume is
        inversely proportioned to the pressure; -- known also as
        Mariotte's law, and the law of Boyle and Mariotte.
     Brehon laws. See under Brehon.
     Canon law, the body of ecclesiastical law adopted in the
        Christian Church, certain portions of which (for example,
        the law of marriage as existing before the Council of
        Tent) were brought to America by the English colonists as
        part of the common law of the land. --Wharton.
     Civil law, a term used by writers to designate Roman law,
        with modifications thereof which have been made in the
        different countries into which that law has been
        introduced. The civil law, instead of the common law,
        prevails in the State of Louisiana. --Wharton.
     Commercial law. See Law merchant (below).
     Common law. See under Common.
     Criminal law, that branch of jurisprudence which relates to
     Ecclesiastical law. See under Ecclesiastical.
     Grimm's law (Philol.), a statement (propounded by the
        German philologist Jacob Grimm) of certain regular changes
        which the primitive Indo-European mute consonants,
        so-called (most plainly seen in Sanskrit and, with some
        changes, in Greek and Latin), have undergone in the
        Teutonic languages. Examples: Skr. bh[=a]t[.r], L. frater,
        E. brother, G. bruder; L. tres, E. three, G. drei, Skr.
        go, E. cow, G. kuh; Skr. dh[=a] to put, Gr. ti-qe`-nai, E.
        do, OHG, tuon, G. thun. See also lautverschiebung.
     Kepler's laws (Astron.), three important laws or
        expressions of the order of the planetary motions,
        discovered by John Kepler. They are these: (1) The orbit
        of a planet with respect to the sun is an ellipse, the sun
        being in one of the foci. (2) The areas swept over by a
        vector drawn from the sun to a planet are proportioned to
        the times of describing them. (3) The squares of the times
        of revolution of two planets are in the ratio of the cubes
        of their mean distances.
     Law binding, a plain style of leather binding, used for law
        books; -- called also law calf.
     Law book, a book containing, or treating of, laws.
     Law calf. See Law binding (above).
     Law day.
         (a) Formerly, a day of holding court, esp. a court-leet.
         (b) The day named in a mortgage for the payment of the
             money to secure which it was given. [U. S.]
     Law French, the dialect of Norman, which was used in
        judicial proceedings and law books in England from the
        days of William the Conqueror to the thirty-sixth year of
        Edward III.
     Law language, the language used in legal writings and
     Law Latin. See under Latin.
     Law lords, peers in the British Parliament who have held
        high judicial office, or have been noted in the legal
     Law merchant, or Commercial law, a system of rules by
        which trade and commerce are regulated; -- deduced from
        the custom of merchants, and regulated by judicial
        decisions, as also by enactments of legislatures.
     Law of Charles (Physics), the law that the volume of a
        given mass of gas increases or decreases, by a definite
        fraction of its value for a given rise or fall of
        temperature; -- sometimes less correctly styled Gay
        Lussac's law, or Dalton's law.
     Law of nations. See International law, under
     Law of nature.
         (a) A broad generalization expressive of the constant
             action, or effect, of natural conditions; as, death
             is a law of nature; self-defense is a law of nature.
             See Law, 4.
         (b) A term denoting the standard, or system, of morality
             deducible from a study of the nature and natural
             relations of human beings independent of supernatural
             revelation or of municipal and social usages.
     Law of the land, due process of law; the general law of the
     Laws of honor. See under Honor.
     Laws of motion (Physics), three laws defined by Sir Isaac
        Newton: (1) Every body perseveres in its state of rest or
        of moving uniformly in a straight line, except so far as
        it is made to change that state by external force. (2)
        Change of motion is proportional to the impressed force,
        and takes place in the direction in which the force is
        impressed. (3) Reaction is always equal and opposite to
        action, that is to say, the actions of two bodies upon
        each other are always equal and in opposite directions.
     Marine law, or Maritime law, the law of the sea; a branch
        of the law merchant relating to the affairs of the sea,
        such as seamen, ships, shipping, navigation, and the like.
     Mariotte's law. See Boyle's law (above).
     Martial law.See under Martial.
     Military law, a branch of the general municipal law,
        consisting of rules ordained for the government of the
        military force of a state in peace and war, and
        administered in courts martial. --Kent. --Warren's
     Moral law, the law of duty as regards what is right and
        wrong in the sight of God; specifically, the ten
        commandments given by Moses. See Law, 2.
     Mosaic law, or Ceremonial law. (Script.) See Law, 3.
     Municipal law, or Positive law, a rule prescribed by the
        supreme power of a state, declaring some right, enforcing
        some duty, or prohibiting some act; -- distinguished from
        international law and constitutional law. See Law,
     Periodic law. (Chem.) See under Periodic.
     Roman law, the system of principles and laws found in the
        codes and treatises of the lawmakers and jurists of
        ancient Rome, and incorporated more or less into the laws
        of the several European countries and colonies founded by
        them. See Civil law (above).
     Statute law, the law as stated in statutes or positive
        enactments of the legislative body.
     Sumptuary law. See under Sumptuary.
     To go to law, to seek a settlement of any matter by
        bringing it before the courts of law; to sue or prosecute
        some one.
     To take the law of, or To have the law of, to bring the
        law to bear upon; as, to take the law of one's neighbor.
     Wager of law. See under Wager.
     Syn: Justice; equity.
     Usage: Law, Statute, Common law, Regulation, Edict,
            Decree. Law is generic, and, when used with
            reference to, or in connection with, the other words
            here considered, denotes whatever is commanded by one
            who has a right to require obedience. A statute is a
            particular law drawn out in form, and distinctly
            enacted and proclaimed. Common law is a rule of action
            founded on long usage and the decisions of courts of
            justice. A regulation is a limited and often,
            temporary law, intended to secure some particular end
            or object. An edict is a command or law issued by a
            sovereign, and is peculiar to a despotic government. A
            decree is a permanent order either of a court or of
            the executive government. See Justice.
            [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  common law
      n 1: (civil law) a law established by following earlier judicial
           decisions [syn: case law, precedent, common law]
      2: a system of jurisprudence based on judicial precedents rather
         than statutory laws; "common law originated in the unwritten
         laws of England and was later applied in the United States"
         [syn: common law, case law, precedent]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  62 Moby Thesaurus words for "common law":
     Corpus Juris Canonici, Mishnah, Roman law, Spiritus Mundi, Sunna,
     Talmud, admiralty law, ancient wisdom, archetypal myth,
     archetypal pattern, blue law, canon law, case law, chancery law,
     civil law, commercial law, constitutional law, corporation law,
     criminal law, crown law, custom, decree law, droit des gens,
     dry law, ecclesiastical law, equity, folk motif, folklore,
     folktale, gag law, immemorial usage, international law, jus civile,
     jus commune, jus inter gentes, jus publicum, law merchant, legend,
     lex domicilii, lex fori, lex loci, lex mercatorum, lex non scripta,
     lex scripta, lex situs, local law, lore, martial law, myth,
     mythology, penal law, positive law, public law, racial memory,
     sea law, statute law, substantive law, tradition, traditionalism,
     traditionality, unwritten law, written law

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