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

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Other Words from lawless

lawlessly adverb
lawlessness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for lawless



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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 Lawmen Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, and lawless Tory Kittles test private conviction and social desire — unlike Scorsese’s mob-fetishizing, morality manqué tale. Armond White, National Review, "The 15th Annual Better-Than List," 3 Jan. 2020 Many migrant traffickers are based in largely lawless Libya. San Diego Union-Tribune, "5 EU nations reach temporary deal on rescued migrants," 23 Sep. 2019 The behavior exhibited by this seemingly lawless administration will distort our democratic institutions. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: No unity in the analysis of Mueller testimony (7/28/19)," 28 July 2019 And as our hero forges into the lawless unknown, that bluntness becomes its own weird kind of poetry. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "The year’s best rappers sounded ahead of their time. Literally.," 13 Dec. 2019 Even as the likes of Peter Thiel and Mark Zuckerberg embrace blockchain technology, headlines about the industry continue to play up its lawless elements—such as the crypto developer arrested this month for busting sanctions in North Korea. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Crypto’s Crown Prince Survived ‘The Craziest Bubble Ever.’ Now He’s Ready For a Second Act," 11 Dec. 2019 And like the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Russian departure from Chechnya left a devastated land that quickly descended into lawless strife among rival factions. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "The War That Continues to Shape Russia, 25 Years Later," 10 Dec. 2019 The crash occurred in what is currently the most sensitive and jihadi-plagued zone, Mali’s southeast, near the lawless border with Niger., "One of the helicopters had been deployed to “allow for the immediate exfiltration of elements on the ground,” an army news release stated.," 27 Nov. 2019 In the 1990s, cops began encouraging the homeless to settle on this abandoned stretch of land, and others soon joined them to take advantage of the nigh-lawless space. Wes Enzinna, Harper's magazine, "Gimme Shelter," 19 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for lawless

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

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Statistics for lawless

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lawless.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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How to pronounce lawless (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lawless

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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