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

  • n. A law or body of laws that derives from nature and is believed to be binding upon human actions apart from or in conjunction with laws established by human authority.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ethical theory that posits the existence of a law whose content is set by nature and that therefore has validity everywhere.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. that instinctive sense of justice and of right and wrong, which is native in mankind, as distinguished from specifically revealed divine law, and formulated human law.

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

  • n. a rule or body of rules of conduct inherent in human nature and essential to or binding upon human society


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Its chief exponent is science philosophy, a continuation of the Deism of the eighteenth century without the idea of God, and the view herein presented, of an evolving universe working out its own destiny under the rigid sway of inherent natural laws, finds but a thin disguise in the Pantheistic conception, so prevalent among non-Catholic theologians, of an immanent God, who is the active ground of the world-development according to natural law

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • Revelation and grace are morally necessary to man to know sufficiently all the truths of the natural law (cf. Summa Theologica,

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • It would be contrary to the natural law because it would be an abuse of the penitent's confidence and an injury, very serious perhaps, to his reputation.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11: New Mexico-Philip

  • XXV de Ref., c. xx); and that it is false to assert that ecclesiastical immunity can be traced only from secular law; that the immunity of the clergy from military service could be abolished without any breach of the natural law or of justice, nay that it must be abolished in the interests of progress and civil equality (Syllabus, nn.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12: Philip II-Reuss

  • The innnate love of justice, to which my heart was constantly subject, added to my secret inclination to France, had inspired me with an aversion to the King of Prussia, who by his maxims and conduct, seemed to tread under foot all respect for natural law and every duty of humanity.

    The Confessions of J J Rousseau

  • Archbishop Bourchier cited Pecock and his accusers to appear before him on 11 Nov. Nine books which he produced were submitted to a commission of theologians who reported adversely on them on the grounds among other reasons that he set the natural law above the authority of the Scriptures, denied the necessity of believing

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11: New Mexico-Philip


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "A body of law or a specific principle of law that is held to be derived from nature and binding upon human society in the absence of or in addition to positive law.

    "While natural law, based on a notion of timeless order, does not receive as much credence as it did formerly, it was an important influence on the enumeration of natural rights by Thomas Jefferson and others."

    July 1, 2009

  • See also nonsense on stilts.

    September 11, 2008