lay down the law


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.

lay down the law (to someone) (about something)

Fig. to scold someone; to make something very clear to someone in a very stern manner. Wow, was she mad at Ed. She really laid down the law about drinking to him. She laid down the law to Ed. She laid down the law about drinking.
See also: down, law, lay

lay down the law

to tell people what they must do, without caring about their opinions I'm not going to let some new guy come into my office and start laying down the law. Riley laid down the law, telling his players, “We're going to play the game my way.”
Related vocabulary: read somebody the riot act
See also: down, law, lay

lay down the law

to tell people what they should do, without caring about how they feel I'm not going to have someone come into this office and start laying down the law.
See also: down, law, lay

lay down the law

Assert something positively and often arrogantly, state something dogmatically. For example, Dad laid down the law about locking up the house. This colloquial expression, first recorded in 1762, uses lay down in the sense of def. 2.
See also: down, law, lay

lay down the law

To issue orders or instructions sharply or imperiously.
See also: down, law, lay
References in periodicals archive ?
The whole idea is to lay down the law and set the rules: There's a time for playing and a time for work,'' says DeVito, himself the father of three.
The first requirement is for a dressing room dictator, willing to lay down the law to the club's superstars.
25) can lay down the law in the feature race at Newmarket today.
And Ashley will lay down the law after being angered by a series of comments that have made by his coach.
TONY BLAIR will lay down the law to Ken Livingstone if, as expected, he wins the election for London Mayor this week.
CATE Blanchett really does know how to lay down the law in true Hollywood star
Now they have left Justice Minister Michael McDowell with no option but to lay down the law.
He said: "We can lay down the law and tell AIB they are not going far enough if that is what we believe is happening.