"Lei" or "Direito"?

I am trying to translate "the law of the jungle", and I don't understand the difference between "lei" and "direito" and their usage. Can anybody help please? Obrigado!

September 4, 2014


Lei da selva. Direito can be rights or law too but it is more of a legal term.

September 4, 2014

Basically, we could say that Direito is the common term when talking "legalese", applying to juridical terms. On the other hand, lei is the generic noun for law when referring to rules.

For example, we use Direito to refer to Law School terminologies, and it apply to all its categories. Sometimes, it is translated as right:

  • Escola de Direito (Law School)
  • Direito Internacional (International Law)
  • Direito Interno (Domestic Law)
  • Direitos Humanos (Human Rights)
  • Direito Criminal or Direito Penal (Criminal Law)

  • O réu deve estar ciente dos seus direitos (The defendant must be aware of his rights)

  • Países como Brasil e Noruega respeitam o Direito do Mar (Countries such as Brazil and Norway respect the Law of the Sea)

However, when we talk about specific laws (the legal rule itself), we use lei

  • A lei da selva (The law of the jungle)
  • Lei XXXX/2014 (Law XXXX/2014) [When adressing specific laws]
  • Leis internacionais (International laws)

For example, International Law (the cathegory) and international laws may sound similar, but they're not the same: Direito Internacional é composto de leis internacionais (International Law is composed by international laws).

I don't know if the explanation got a little bit confusing, so let me know if you still have any doubts.

September 4, 2014

It wasn't confusing at all, it was really helpful. Thank you so much, I think I understand now. The examples really helped! Obrigado!!

September 4, 2014

De nada! If you have any doubts with Portuguese vocabulary, feel free to ask.

September 4, 2014

"A lei da selva"

June 13, 2018
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