law·​less | \ ˈlȯ-ləs How to pronounce lawless (audio) \

Definition of lawless

1 : not regulated by or based on law
2a : not restrained or controlled by law : unruly
b : illegal

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Other Words from lawless

lawlessly adverb
lawlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for lawless


anarchic (also anarchical), disorderly, lawbreaking, unruly


law-abiding, orderly

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Examples of lawless in a Sentence

the lawless society of the frontier the lawless rioters were destroying everything in sight

Recent Examples on the Web

By creating the region of about four million people, backers hope to narrow the base of support for extremist groups in the region, one of the most lawless in the country. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Philippine Towns Blocked From Joining Muslim Self-Rule Region," 15 Feb. 2019 Meanwhile, the book’s table of contents: — Sean Craig (@sdbcraig) April 4, 2018 Goldy doesn’t deal in principled protectionism, opposition to lawless immigration, or capitalist conservatism. Jane Coaston, Vox, "Steve King endorses a bona fide white supremacist for Toronto mayor," 18 Oct. 2018 But there are drawbacks to large-scale use in Colombia’s lawless drug zones: Soldiers need to be deployed to cordon off swaths of coca-producing land from angry farmers or drug traffickers seeking to damage the devices. Juan Forero And, WSJ, "Colombia Tests Drones to Destroy Coca Plants Used for Cocaine," 19 Aug. 2018 Now back to the case that so aroused Mr. Trump’s ire as an instance of lawless, liberal judicial overreach. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Trump Misjudges America’s Courts," 27 Nov. 2018 By traveling in large groups with ample media attention, migrants could travel more safely through lawless regions of Mexico. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Caravan’s Stymied Passage Leaves Migrant Issue Boiling," 28 Dec. 2018 Live-streaming webcast is not lawless territory and users should obey the law and uphold moral standards. Gerry Shih, The Seattle Times, "Chinese online star detained for 5 days after singing the national anthem badly," 15 Oct. 2018 End of days Described in several Norse sources (primarily Snorri Sturluson's 13th century Prose Edda), Ragnarök begins with a brutal winter lasting three times longer than usual, driving mankind to lawless desperation. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "“Wolf’s jaw” star cluster may have inspired parts of Ragnarök myth," 16 Nov. 2018 But the caravan panic isn’t just about the idea of a lawless mob swarming the border. Dara Lind, Vox, "The conspiracy theory that led to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, explained," 29 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lawless.' 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 lawless

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near lawless


law lamb

law Latin



law list

law lord

Statistics for lawless

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Time Traveler for lawless

The first known use of lawless was in the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of lawless

: having no laws
: not obeying the law


law·​less | \ ˈlȯ-ləs How to pronounce lawless (audio) \

Kids Definition of lawless

1 : having no laws : not based on or controlled by law a lawless frontier town
2 : uncontrolled by law : unruly a lawless mob

Other Words from lawless

lawlessness noun



Legal Definition of lawless

1 : not restrained or controlled by law
2 : illegal a lawless act

Other Words from lawless

lawlessly adverb
lawlessness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on lawless

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lawless

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lawless

Spanish Central: Translation of lawless

Nglish: Translation of lawless for Spanish Speakers

Comments on lawless

What made you want to look up lawless? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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