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unwritten law


unwritten law rate
(Adult / Slang)
Not a legislative or written law but rather the custom or tradition that an individual has the assumed right to avenge an injury to the family honor in cases of adultery, seduction or other sex offenses and that a measure of leniency, if not immunity, will be granted to the individual who commits such an act.


(1) Lawyer Amanda Bonner (Katharine Hepburn) and hubby Adam (Spencer Tracy) in Adam's Rib (1949): ' This poor woman, isn't she entitled to the same justice? I mean that's usually reserved to men, the same unwritten law.'

(2) Lawyer Paul Biegler (James Stewart) to Lt. Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara) accused of the murder of his wife's rapist in Anatomy of a Murder (1959): ' The unwritten law is a myth, Lieutenant. There is no such thing as the unwritten law.'

(3) David Slater (David Niven) in The Moon is Blue (1953): ' The unwritten law protects us fathers.'

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