il·le·git·i·mate | \ˌi-li-ˈji-tə-mət \

Definition of illegitimate 

1 : not recognized as lawful offspring specifically : born of parents not married to each other

2 : not rightly deduced or inferred : illogical

3 : departing from the regular : erratic

4a : 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

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Other Words from illegitimate

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

The reelection of the country’s far-left president, Nicolás Maduro, on May 20—in a race deemed illegitimate by the opposition and many foreign governments—prompted the U.S. to broaden a ban on Americans buying Venezuelan debt. Christopher Alessi, WSJ, "Oil Edges Up Amid Supply Jitters in Iran, Venezuela," 7 June 2018 He had been born poor himself, in a camp outside the shabby ranching-and-mining town of La Libertad in Chontales province, the illegitimate son of a prospector and an Indian peasant woman. The Economist, "Obituary: Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, the first cardinal from Central America," 23 June 2018 Lippi remained devoted to the woman and trained their illegitimate son in his own craft. Lee Siegel, WSJ, "A Portrait of the Artist as a Great Father," 15 June 2018 Indeed, Trump's very candidacy was born in birtherism, the debunked conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was an illegitimate president because he was born in Kenya. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "Over 24 hours, Trump exhibits two starkly different attitudes toward race in America," 12 Jan. 2018 YouTube's problems are well documented, and Google Play is, well, the best place to download illegitimate mobile emulators, if that's your thing. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Can Google Really Launch a Viable Videogame Platform?," 7 July 2018 Twitter has more than doubled the rate of account suspensions since October of last year, as part of an ongoing effort to fight illegitimate accounts, including bots, trolls, and impersonators. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Twitter’s Huge Purge of Fake Accounts Could Lead to Decline in User Numbers," 7 July 2018 Many of the allegations centered on illegitimate opioid prescriptions. Lev Facher, STAT, "Justice Department announces crackdown on fraudulent opioid prescriptions," 28 June 2018 Charm itself smells a little rapey: an illegitimate exercise of power. Laura Kipnis, The Cut, "Should There Be a Future for Seduction?," 10 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'illegitimate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of illegitimate

1536, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for illegitimate

The first known use of illegitimate was in 1536

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English Language Learners Definition of illegitimate

: born to a father and mother who are not married

: not allowed according to rules or laws

: not reasonable or fair


il·le·git·i·mate | \ˌi-li-ˈji-tə-mət \

Kids Definition of illegitimate

: not accepted by the law as rightful an illegitimate ruler


il·le·git·i·mate | \ˌi-li-ˈji-tə-mət \

Legal Definition of illegitimate 

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

Other Words from illegitimate

illegitimate noun

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