lay down the law, to

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lay down the law

To give a directive or order, or to dictate how to behave, often sternly or forcefully. You can't let these kids walk all over you. You need to lay down the law and stick to it. I always hire the same babysitter because she lays down the law, and my kids respect her for it.
See also: down, law, lay
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lay down the law

COMMON If you lay down the law, you tell people very forcefully and firmly what to do. They were traditional parents, who believed in laying down the law for their children. She had been in West Africa for less than four months, and did not feel it was her place to lay down the law.
See also: down, law, lay
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

lay down the law

issue instructions to other people in an authoritative or dogmatic way.
See also: down, law, lay
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

lay down the ˈlaw

(informal, disapproving) give somebody orders and express your opinions in an unpleasant, aggressive way, often when you have no right to do so: He came in here this morning and started laying down the law about all kinds of things. Who does he think he is?
See also: down, law, lay
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

lay down the law

To issue orders or instructions sharply or imperiously.
See also: down, law, lay
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lay down the law, to

To pontificate; to give orders or make dogmatic statements. Lay down here means simply to “make,” and the expression today is often used ironically, since it rarely involves an actual legislator, or even an authority. It still did in 1765, however, when Blackstone’s Commentaries stated, “We may now . . . lay down the law of redress against public oppression.”
See also: down, lay
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
Martin Poyser was not a frequenter of public houses, but he liked a friendly chat over his own home- brewed; and though it was pleasant to lay down the law to a stupid neighbour who had no notion how to make the best of his farm, it was also an agreeable variety to learn something from a clever fellow like Adam Bede.
Is nothing more needed than to get a footing, by hook or by crook, in other people's houses to rule over the masters (and that, perhaps, after having been brought up in all the straitness of some seminary, and without having ever seen more of the world than may lie within twenty or thirty leagues round), to fit one to lay down the law rashly for chivalry, and pass judgment on knights-errant?
Du Bousquier, whose secret ambition was to lay down the law to the town, wished, as a first proof of his power, to reconcile the minister of Saint-Leonard with the rector of the parish, and he succeeded.
She says: "I am used to laying down the law in the courtroom, but now I'm going to lay down the law in the boardroom."
But, while I love my mum to bits, I do need to lay down the law a bit.
" We are going to lay down the law that whether witnesses can be recalled at the behest of an accused," a bench headed by Justice J.
Speaking to RadarOnline, a source said: "Rosie and Jason have had many ups and downs but the supermodel has begun to lay down the law that if Jason doesn't start getting serious about getting married, she will leave him.
Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was the "Westminster establishment" trying to lay down the law to Scotland and warned that the move would backfire.
Brian added that Law Taylor, who had three wives, was at times known to lay down the law. He was a strict non-smoker and teetotaller and during his term as mayor had all traces of alcohol removed from the Mayor's parlour in the town hall.
STEVE McCLAREN has already had to lay down the law at Nottingham Forest.
Moyes said in the aftermath of Saturday's 1-0 loss to Newcastle he intended to lay down the law and he showed that by calling his players in for early training yesterday.
PAUL West vowed to lay down the law on indiscipline after watching Evesham United pick up two red cards in their midweek defeat at Clevedon Town.
Someone's always ready to lay down the law for abstract painting--to let it know what it's not allowed to do.
Catholic leaders also need to lay down the law about standards our church has set for care at the end of life, just as we lay down the law about not allowing abortions or sterilizations in our hospitals.
LEEDS boss Terry Venables has been forced to lay down the law regarding discipline to the entire squad in the wake of Alan Smith's latest dismissal.