In Dutch, the term "de wetgever" (literally "the legislator", "the lawmaker") is often used to refer to the legislative power, the legislature. This is very often translated in English as "the legislator".

E.g.: "A new ruling by the Constitutional Court will force the Belgian legislator and social partners to harmonise the employment statutes for blue-collar and white-collar workers by 2013, ..." (source: http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/2011/12/articles/be1112011i.htm)

However, I cannot find good examples of this English term being used this way on UK websites. So, I was wondering if this actually correct.

  • 7
    the legislature is used predominantly in this sense, rather than the legislator. ...the Belgian legislature and social partners ..., perhaps owing usage in English.
    – Kris
    Jan 16, 2014 at 11:15
  • Simply put, and therefore a comment not an answer, legislator is an individual. The legislature is made up of a number of individuals.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 16, 2014 at 11:21
  • I have noticed that 'legislator' seems to be going out of fashion in America. Their press and media increasingly refer to 'lawmakers'. I suppose it m eans much the same thing, but in Britain Members of Parliament do much more than 'make laws'. And other people 'make law' in a Common Law system such as ours, judges for example.
    – WS2
    Jan 16, 2014 at 21:08

1 Answer 1


If this question is addressed to UK practice only, I apologize for intruding with a U.S.-centric answer; but since the tags don't indicate such a specific focus, I offer this response...

In the United States, the situation with regard to the legislative power is complicated by federalism: The federal government has a legislative division (Congress), of course, but each of the individual states has its own legislative division, too; and in many instances, it (if it's unicameral) or at least half of it (if it's bicameral) may actually be called the Legislature.

Consequently, in many U.S. states, the term "legislator" is normally understood to refer to a member of that state's legislature, and it would be confusing to apply that term in the more general sense suggested here of "the legislative power."

  • Just to avoid confusion. The term legislator, in "US terms", refers to a person who is a member of a legislative body in any level of government and not only of the state's legislature. While it is most common to hear "legislator" in both state and federal context, a member of a City Council is also a legislator by definition.
    – gelolopez
    Jan 17, 2014 at 8:04

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