Here is what I read

Legislation X transformed criminal law as we know it.

Does it mean legislation X transformed criminal law at some point in the past into the one we know today?

  • "As we know it" means "In its current or accepted state". It has no relationship to change except as an expression of the current state to which that change may be compared. Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


I suppose literally it does mean that. But the phrase is hardly ever used literally. It means that the changes were huge, or even fundamental.

  • So "as we know" is actually an idiom meaning drastic change ? Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 22:34
  • @Doeser No, as we know it does not mean "drastic change". See this link. (Colin's answer refers to the phrase "legislation A transformed criminal law as we know it", not to the idiom as we know it.) Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 2:10

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