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. – P. E. Dant Nov 5 '16 at 23:16

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 ? – most venerable sir Nov 5 '16 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.) – P. E. Dant Nov 6 '16 at 2:10

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