lay down the law
- To promulgate law.
2004, John Lierman, The New Testament Moses, page 125:
- [I]n other words, some Jews thought of Moses as the one who laid down the Law, while others saw him more as a prophet.
- (law, dated) To present the law that applies to a given case.
- (idiomatic) To authoritatively or dogmatically assert what is permitted or not permitted.
1818, Sir Walter Scott, The Heart of Mid-Lothian, chapter 4:
- He concluded this sentence with a self-important cough, as one who has laid down the law in an indisputable manner.
1908, Upton Sinclair, The Moneychangers, chapter 19:
- Montague could picture the grim, hawk-faced old man, sitting at the head of the council board, and laying down the law to the masters of the Metropolis.