By"-law` (), n. [Cf.Sw.bylag, D.bylov, Icel.barlog, fr.Sw.& Dan. by town, Icel. baer, byr (fr. bua to dwell) + the word for law; hence, a law for one town, a special law. Cf.Birlaw and see Law.]


A local or subordinate law; a private law or regulation made by a corporation for its own government.

There was likewise a law to restrain the by-laws, or ordinances of corporations. Bacon.

The law or institution; to which are added two by-laws, as a comment upon the general law. Addison.


A law that is less important than a general law or constitutional provision, and subsidiary to it; a rule relating to a matter of detail; as, civic societies often adopt a constitution and by-laws for the government of their members. In this sense the word has probably been influenced by by, meaning secondary or aside.


© Webster 1913.

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