Law - lore

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Beware possible confusion over the two nouns law and lore. (They form one of the sets of homophones listed by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.
(For more, see Bridges homophones). AWE has a category listing our articles on each of these. Law and lore are in his group III, "Group of homophones caused by loss of trilled R".)

  • Law is the systematic set of written rules by which a society govens itself. A law is one of those rules. (There is much subtlety in the precise - and extended - meanings of the word.)
  • Lore, which is mostly used with a flavour of the archaic or quaint, has a central meaning of "the body of traditional facts, anecdotes, or beliefs relating to some particular subject" (OED, 1903).
This potential confusion is a prime example of the Intrusive '-r-'. The late columnist Bernard Levin used to mock the way the British Conservative party spoke about 'law and order', claiming that their pin-up was a woman called "Laura Norder".