Look under the pigeons and you might find a bronze statue in a park, but there’s probably a statute, or law, about how big it can be.

A statue is a figure of a person, animal, or object that is carved or cast from some material, such as marble or iron. A statue is usually life-sized or larger. (If it’s smaller than the real-life original, it’s a statuette or a figurine). Here are some examples of statue in the headlines:

Bronze statue unveiled in tribute to Ronnie Barker (Mirror UK)

Rosa Parks statue dedicated in downtown Grand Rapids (Michigan Live)

But a statute is a written law, such as that of a particular government or organization:

Fifteen other states and the District of Columbia have since enacted similar statutes, though cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under U.S. law. (Reuters)

All were also discharged within the past six years, putting them within the statute of limitations. (New York Times)

Both words come from the Latin word “to stand,” but a statue literally stands, often on two legs, and a statute is a law that stands. So while you might find a statue in the park of, say, Jimi Hendrix, it’s the statutes about that park that allow a monument to the rock star to be erected there.