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adjective le·gal \ˈlē-gəl\

Simple Definition of legal

  • : of or relating to the law

  • : based on the law

  • : allowed by the law or by the rules in a game

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of legal

  1. 1 :  of or relating to law

  2. 2 a :  deriving authority from or founded on law :  de jure b :  having a formal status derived from law often without a basis in actual fact :  titular <a corporation is a legal but not a real person> c :  established by law; especially :  statutory

  3. 3 :  conforming to or permitted by law or established rules

  4. 4 :  recognized or made effective by a court of law as distinguished from a court of equity

  5. 5 :  of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the profession of law or of one of its members

  6. 6 :  created by the constructions of the law <a legal fiction>

legally play \-gə-lē\ adverb

Examples of legal in a sentence

  1. She has a lot of legal problems.

  2. Do you know your legal rights?

  3. The amount of alcohol in his blood exceeded the legal limit.

  4. What you did was not legal.

  5. Is it legal to fish in this river? Yes, it's perfectly legal.

  6. The referee said it was a legal play.

Origin of legal

Anglo-French, from Latin legalis, from leg-, lex law

First Known Use: circa 1500

Synonym Discussion of legal

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>.

Rhymes with legal



noun le·gal

Definition of legal

  1. :  one that conforms to rules or the law


First Known Use of legal


LEGAL Defined for Kids


adjective le·gal \ˈlē-gəl\

Definition of legal for Students

  1. 1 :  of or relating to law or lawyers <legal books>

  2. 2 :  based on law <a legal right>

  3. 3 :  allowed by law or rules <legal conduct> <a legal play in a game>

legally adverb

Law Dictionary


adjective le·gal \ˈlē-gəl\

Legal Definition of legal

  1. 1 :  of or relating to law or the processes of law <a legal question> <take legal action>

  2. 2a :  deriving authority from or founded on law <a legal tariff rate> <a legal government> b :  fulfilling the requirements of law <a legal voter> c :  having a status derived from law :  recognized as such by law <a legal certainty> d :  created by operation of especially statutory law <legal incompetence> <a legal presumption> — compare conventional 1, judicial 2 e :  established by law <the legal test for mental capacity>

  3. 3 :  conforming to or permitted by law :  lawful <a referendum to make gambling legal>

  4. 4 :  recognized or made effective under principles of law as distinguished from principles of equity :  deriving from or existing or valid in law as distinguished from equity — see also equity — compare equitable

  5. 5a :  of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the profession of law or one of its members <a corporate legal department> <the legal community> b :  of or relating to the study of law <continuing legal education>

legally adverb

Origin of legal

Latin legalis, from leg- lex law

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up legal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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