from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Temporary rule by military authorities, imposed on a civilian population especially in time of war or when civil authority has broken down.
  • n. The law imposed on an occupied territory by occupying military forces.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Rules by military authorities, especially when imposed on a civilian population in time of war or other crisis, or in an occupied territory

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See under Martial.
  • adj. the law administered by the military power of a government when it has superseded the civil authority in time of war, or when the civil authorities are unable to enforce the laws. It is distinguished from military law, the latter being the code of rules for the regulation of the army and navy alone, either in peace or in war.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the body of law imposed by the military over civilian affairs (usually in time of war or civil crisis); overrides civil law


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Spasowski said he and his family had been thinking about defecting for several years and had been moving closer and closer to it, then decided to act after the imposition of martial law and crackdown on Solidarity.

    An American Life

  • When he spoke out against martial law in Poland in 1981, virtually every leader except Lady Thatcher opposed him.


  • In the spring of 1982, in a speech at a Eureka College reunion marking the fiftieth anniversary of my graduating class, I renewed my invitation to the Soviets to initiate the START the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, which we’d put on hold after the Soviets imposed martial law in Poland.

    An American Life

  • Some magistrates and officials were butchered at the beginning of the outbreak, but martial law was proclaimed, and the rebellion was quickly suppressed by methods which a Royal Commission pronounced later to have been unnecessarily severe.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8: Infamy-Lapparent

  • In 1981, when the movement had grown, joined by workers and clergy, to such size that the government declared martial law in an attempt to contain it, Joanna's mother, Jadwiga, was the oldest woman interned.

    1968 the Year that Rocked the World

  • In O'Neil De Noux's new story, all such obstacles are overcome by a persevering Union Civil War captain who finds himself investigating homicide under martial law ....



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