lawful

adjective
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

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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

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 He was charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, obstructing and hindering, assault second degree and resist/interfere with arrest. Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN, 15 June 2021 John Lewis was charged with disorderly conduct, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, obstructing and hindering, second-degree assault and resisting or interfering with arrest. Morgan Winsor, ABC News, 15 June 2021 The following year, a federal district judge in Boston ruled the school’s approach lawful. Melissa Korn, WSJ, 14 June 2021 Without applicable law, no federal law enforcement authority can issue a lawful request, and platforms don’t have a legal basis for providing data. J. Scott Babwah Brennen, Wired, 11 June 2021 The Supreme Court recently ruled 9-0 against the agency’s proclivity to impose fines against targets without bothering to follow lawful procedures. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 10 June 2021 Hong Kong Alliance can no longer organise the candlelight vigil this year in a lawful manner. NBC News, 29 May 2021 But because of a lack of follow-up to ensure that revokees’ guns were surrendered or placed with a lawful owner, law enforcement does not know what nearly 80% of those people have done with their weapons, the Tribune found. Lisa Donovan, chicagotribune.com, 27 May 2021 The district attorney’s office is investigating whether this fatal police shooting was lawful or unlawful. Lauren Hernández, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for lawful

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for lawful

Last Updated

18 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lawful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lawful. Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for lawful

lawful

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of lawful

formal
: allowed by the law
: according to the law

lawful

adjective
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

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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