illegitimate

adjective

il·​le·​git·​i·​mate ˌi-li-ˈji-tə-mət How to pronounce illegitimate (audio)
1
a
: not recognized as lawful offspring
b
: born of parents not married to each other
2
a
: not sanctioned by law : illegal
b
: not authorized by good usage
c
of a taxon : published but not in accordance with the rules of the relevant international code
3
: not rightly deduced or inferred : illogical
4
: departing from the regular : erratic
illegitimately adverb

Examples of illegitimate in a Sentence

She thinks that my concerns are illegitimate. They were fired from their jobs for illegitimate reasons.
Recent Examples on the Web But on March 26th, the creator of the level admitted that it had been made using illegitimate assistance. Jay Castello, The Verge, 12 Apr. 2024 Kirill replied that those pleas were meaningless because Ukraine’s political class was illegitimate. Robert F. Worth, The Atlantic, 10 Apr. 2024 Lee Jun-young’s character Kang In-ha is the illegitimate son of a conglomerate head. Joan MacDonald, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 The real Jeanne du Barry was the illegitimate daughter of a common seamstress who used her intelligence and sexuality to rise within the ranks of high society, eventually becoming the favored courtesan of King Loius XV. Mike Miller, EW.com, 2 Apr. 2024 Eastman’s strategy was predicated on having swing state Republicans sign off on illegitimate alternate electors who would deem Trump as the winner of their states. Antonio Pequeño Iv, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 So, very different reaction among the parties to any kind of challenge to our democracy or suggestion that elections are illegitimate. Nbc Universal, NBC News, 10 Mar. 2024 The complaint alleges that the federal government concocted illegitimate reasons for expediting the survey, forgoing a process that would have allowed mining companies to object. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 6 Mar. 2024 Despite a lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud, a majority of Republicans believe Joe Biden’s 2020 election was illegitimate. Kevin Collier, NBC News, 22 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'illegitimate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1536, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of illegitimate was in 1536

Dictionary Entries Near illegitimate

Cite this Entry

“Illegitimate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illegitimate. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

illegitimate

adjective
il·​le·​git·​i·​mate ˌil-i-ˈjit-ə-mət How to pronounce illegitimate (audio)
1
: born of a father and mother who are not married
2
illegitimately adverb

Legal Definition

illegitimate

adjective
il·​le·​git·​i·​mate ˌi-li-ˈji-tə-mət How to pronounce illegitimate (audio)
1
: not recognized by the law as offspring
specifically : born out of marriage

Note: An illegitimate child is usually legitimated by his or her parents' later marriage. Illegitimate children generally have the same inheritance rights under intestate successions as legitimate children; statutes limiting their inheritance rights have been found to violate the equal protection clause.

2
: not valid according to law
illegitimate noun

More from Merriam-Webster on illegitimate

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