lawful

adjective law·ful \ ˈlȯ-fəl \

Definition of lawful

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

lawfully

play \ˈlȯ-f(ə-)lē\ adverb

lawfulness

play \ˈlȯ-fəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of lawful in a Sentence

  1. a lawful search of the property

  2. hunting is a lawful activity only if you have the proper license

Recent Examples of lawful from the Web

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

LAWFUL Defined for English Language Learners

lawful

adjective

Definition of lawful for English Language Learners

  • : allowed by the law

  • : according to the law


LAWFUL Defined for Kids

lawful

adjective law·ful \ ˈlȯ-fəl \

Definition of lawful for Students

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

lawfully

\-fə-lē\ adverb

Law Dictionary

lawful

adjective law·ful

legal Definition of lawful

1 a :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

lawfully

adverb

lawfulness

noun


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