A: She dropped the kid off like… like a kitten on the highway. You’re going to tell me that that’s not endangering the welfare of a child?

B: No, Sergeant. I’m going to tell you that there are laws on the books, and there are also ways around them.

I thought 'ways around' mean 'the opposite ways/situation is right'.

But in this dialougue, does the speaker B want to say that there are ways to use the laws to get away with crime?

Plese help me to understand this dialogue perfectly!

(My native language is not English. Please be kind to me. :-))

  • 2
    There are ways around the problem = There are methods by which one can bypass (avoid needing to confront) the problem. Oct 24, 2019 at 14:11
  • @FumbleFingers Then, it means there are methods that criminals can use? Oct 25, 2019 at 2:02
  • 1
    Yes. There are ways to observe the letter of the law, but not the spirit, because the actual text of a law is always subject to interpretation. Oct 25, 2019 at 12:17
  • @FumbleFingers Thank you for the information! It helped a lot! :-) Oct 25, 2019 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


Your definition of "ways around" is incorrect - I believe you may be getting mixed up with the expression "the other way around".

To "go around" something means to avoid something by traversing its perimeter in a curved or approximately circular route. Literally, this expression may be used about a physical obstacle. For example, if you were travelling along a straight road and encountered something blocking the road, you would go around the obstacle - that is, turn so as to pass by it in a semi-circular manner, and then resume your original trajectory.

Figuratively, the expression is used when referring to non-physical obstacles. In your example, it is talking about laws. A law can prevent you from doing something; however, there may be another way of achieving what you want to do without breaking the law. Because you are not breaking the law, you are said to be going around it.

In other figurative contexts, the expression may refer to doing something illegal, but perhaps by means which avoid detection, thereby "going around" the methods by which the law is enforced.

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