lawless

adjective

law·​less ˈlȯ-ləs How to pronounce lawless (audio)
1
: not regulated by or based on law
2
a
: not restrained or controlled by law : unruly
b
lawlessly adverb
lawlessness noun

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 Most of San Francisco will remain filthy, lawless and plagued with homeless encampments and drugs, and the Potemkin village will vanish after the summit. WSJ, 17 Nov. 2023 Armies of scammers operating from lawless corners of Southeast Asia—often controlled by Chinese crime bosses—connect with people all over the world through online messages. Feliz Solomon, WSJ, 5 Nov. 2023 They were greeted as usurpers of jobs and, in the West, then still a lawless frontier, many were brutalized and massacred. Ligaya Mishan David Chow, New York Times, 19 Sep. 2023 As lone riders in a land characterized as empty and lawless, cowboys were also a perfect symbol for queers seeking to liberate and reinvent themselves. Evan Moffitt, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2023 Now the photos along with her name and contact information were on 4chan, a lawless website that allows users to post anonymously about topics as varied as music and white supremacy. Ari Schneider, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2023 This city lacked an actual mayor, meaning lawless bicyclists were allowed to fly around without restrictions. Nick Canepa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Aug. 2023 Nonprofit groups are often the only institutions in Haiti’s lawless areas and the deepening violence has forced many to close, leaving thousands of vulnerable families without access to basic services like health care or education. Evens Sanon and Michael Casey, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Aug. 2023 Organized crime groups have also capitalized on political instability such as the 2021 military coup in Myanmar and ongoing conflict in the country, which has made the country’s already lawless border regions an even more ideal production and smuggling hub. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 2 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lawless.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near lawless

Cite this Entry

“Lawless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lawless. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

lawless

adjective
law·​less ˈlȯ-ləs How to pronounce lawless (audio)
1
: not based on or regulated by law
the lawless society of the frontier
2
: not controlled by law : unruly, disorderly
lawless mob
lawlessly adverb
lawlessness noun

Legal Definition

lawless

adjective
law·​less
1
: not restrained or controlled by law
2
: illegal
a lawless act
lawlessly adverb
lawlessness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lawless

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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