law·​ful | \ ˈlȯ-fəl How to pronounce lawful (audio) \

Definition of lawful

1a : being in harmony with the law a lawful judgment
b : constituted, authorized, or established by law : rightful lawful institutions
2 : law-abiding lawful citizens

Other Words from lawful

lawfully \ ˈlȯ-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce lawful (audio) \ adverb
lawfulness \ ˈlȯ-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce lawful (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for lawful



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Choose the Right Synonym for lawful

lawful, legal, legitimate, licit mean being in accordance with law. lawful may apply to conformity with law of any sort (such 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

Examples of lawful in a Sentence

a lawful search of the property hunting is a lawful activity only if you have the proper license
Recent Examples on the Web There are no vaccination requirements for returning United States citizens and lawful residents. Geoff Whitmore, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 The program gives eligible U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to apply for parole for family members in Haiti. New York Times, 11 June 2022 Travelers who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa must still show proof of vaccination before boarding their flight. Arkansas Online, 11 June 2022 This legal measure is used to bring detainees before the court to determine if their imprisonment is lawful, and the collective filing is the first of its kind during the state of emergency. Caterina Morbiato, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 July 2022 The majority also ruled his commitment was lawful and did not violate his due process rights or rely on insufficient evidence. Bruce Vielmetti, Journal Sentinel, 28 June 2022 In July, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in the case that will decide whether such an expansive program is lawful. Los Angeles Times, 16 June 2022 The humanitarian parole program doesn’t provide a direct path to lawful permanent residence, but those on it can apply for asylum or other immigration relief if eligible. Philip Marcelo,, 27 May 2022 Four complaints were deemed justified, meaning the deputies’ actions were determined to be justified and lawful, and three were not sustained, meaning the board found insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations behind them. Kelly Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of lawful

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for lawful

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The first known use of lawful was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near lawful

law French


lawful money

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Last Updated

17 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lawful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for lawful


law·​ful | \ ˈlȯ-fəl How to pronounce lawful (audio) \

Kids Definition of lawful

1 : permitted by law lawful conduct
2 : recognized by law She's the property's lawful owner.

Other Words from lawful

lawfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb



Legal Definition of lawful

1a : being in harmony with the law a lawful judgment a lawful purpose
b : constituted, authorized, or established by law a lawful duty
2 : law-abiding lawful citizens

Other Words from lawful

lawfully adverb
lawfulness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lawful

Nglish: Translation of lawful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lawful for Arabic Speakers


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