lawful

adjective
law·​ful | \ ˈlȯ-fəl \

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

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Other Words from lawful

lawfully \ ˈlȯ-​f(ə-​)lē \ adverb
lawfulness \ ˈlȯ-​fəl-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for lawful

Synonyms

legal, legit [slang], legitimate, licit

Antonyms

illegal, illegitimate, illicit, lawless, unlawful, wrongful

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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

Concord is the only defendant to appear in U.S. court, and has pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy to obstruct lawful functions of the U.S. government through fraud and deceit. Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post, "Firm in ‘Putin’s chef’ case challenges appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller," 25 June 2018 Her father, who is originally from Michoacan, Mexico, is a lawful permanent resident. Brittny Mejia, latimes.com, "Arrest made in brutal beating of 91-year-old man," 11 July 2018 Under federal law, banks are required to flag transactions that appear to have no business or apparent lawful purpose or that deviate inexplicably from a customer’s normal bank activity. Julie Bykowicz, WSJ, "Trump Lawyer Helped Recruit Corporate Client With Ties to Kushner Probe," 9 May 2018 But Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth has said that her office is confident the proposed bonds would be lawful. Becky Bohrer, The Seattle Times, "State wants lawsuit challenging bonding proposal dismissed," 1 Oct. 2018 Brnovich found in February that the property-tax break on the Graduate Tempe hotel was lawful, while the city's tax break on the bank office building was less clear. Jerod Macdonald-evoy, azcentral, "Tempe settles with state over improper developer tax breaks," 27 June 2018 For almost a half-century, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a potent bulwark against efforts to obstruct Americans’ lawful right to cast a ballot. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How the Supreme Court Kills Roe v. Wade," 11 July 2018 Farmers who participate in this program and follow the rules are exempt from criminal prosecution, and products made from industrial hemp, including CBD, are lawful. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Six things you might be asking about hemp," 13 July 2018 Rodriguez is a lawful, permanent resident, according to The Times. Joshua Hafner, USA TODAY, "Woman arrested in beating of 91-year-old man reportedly told to 'go back to Mexico'," 11 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of lawful

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

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Statistics for lawful

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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

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More Definitions for lawful

lawful

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of lawful

: allowed by the law

: according to the law

lawful

adjective
law·​ful | \ ˈlȯ-fəl \

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

lawful

adjective
law·​ful

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on lawful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lawful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lawful

Spanish Central: Translation of lawful

Nglish: Translation of lawful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lawful for Arabic Speakers

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