adjective law·ful \ˈl-fəl\

: allowed by the law

: according to the law

Full Definition of LAWFUL

a :  being in harmony with the law <a lawful judgment>
b :  constituted, authorized, or established by law :  rightful <lawful institutions>
:  law-abiding <lawful citizens>
law·ful·ly \-f(ə-)lē\ adverb
law·ful·ness \-fəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of LAWFUL

  1. a lawful search of the property
  2. <hunting is a lawful activity only if you have the proper license>

First Known Use of LAWFUL

14th century

Synonym Discussion of LAWFUL

lawful, legal, legitimate, licit mean being in accordance with law. lawful may apply to conformity with law of any sort (as natural, divine, common, or canon) <the lawful sovereign>. legal applies to what is sanctioned by law or in conformity with the law, especially as it is written or administered by the courts <legal residents of the state>. legitimate may apply to a legal right or status but also, in extended use, to a right or status supported by tradition, custom, or accepted standards <a perfectly legitimate question about taxes>. licit applies to a strict conformity to the provisions of the law and applies especially to what is regulated by law <the licit use of drugs by doctors>.

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi

Rhymes with LAWFUL

LAWFUL Defined for Kids


adjective law·ful \ˈl-fəl\

Definition of LAWFUL for Kids

:  permitted by law <lawful conduct>
:  recognized by law <She's the property's lawful owner.>
law·ful·ly \-fə-lē\ adverb


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