law and lore - the difference

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
Law means a rule or a collection of rules. Colloquially, the law it means the police.
Lore is knowledge or tradition passed from generation to generation.
Lores are part of a bird's head.

There is often confusion over the words law and lore.

Click on the Two Correct Sentences
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Law is most commonly seen as a noun, but, like most nouns, it can be used as an adjective. It has several meanings:

A rule or collection of rules imposed by authority.
  • That's against the law.
  • He studied Law.
    (Like Mathematics and Science, Law is written with a capital letter when it refers to the subject for study.)
  • The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. (Abraham Lincoln)
A universal principle that describes something's fundamental nature.
  • The laws of physics.
  • Kofi Annan told the international conference: "It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity."
  • Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal. (Authur C Clarke)
    (The first half of this quote alludes to law meaning a rule imposed by authority, but the second half refers to law meaning something's fundamental characteristics.)
The police (colloquial)
  • Leggit. It's the law.


The word lore is a noun. It is most commonly seen in the word folklore. Lore has several meanings:

Tradition or knowledge passed from generation to generation (often by word of mouth through legend or anecdote).
  • Vampire bats and good-looking, sophisticated vampires have only recently become part of the traditional vampire lore.
  • According to folklore, if it rains on St Swithin's Day, it will rain for the next 40 days.
  • (Folklore = traditional beliefs, legends and customs)
Lores: The surface on each side of a bird's head (used for other animals too; e.g. snakes).

yellow-lored Amazon parrot
Interactive Exercise
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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? List of easily confused words