law·​less | \ ˈlȯ-ləs \

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 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 Out there on those long, empty stretches of seemingly lawless road, our country’s love affair with cars dovetailed perfectly with the machismo of the American West. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Long Live Route 66," 19 July 2018 To some observers, this arrangement seems lawless or even undemocratic. Abbe R. Gluck, WSJ, "Can a Judge Solve the Opioid Crisis?," 7 May 2018 The moves are part of efforts to stop smugglers from operating out of the lawless North African nation. Washington Post, "Spanish rescue ship told not to respond to distress call," 29 June 2018 Subsequently, all eyes turned to the once lawless western borderland with Afghanistan. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Trump's wrath forces Pakistan to double down on push to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries," 10 July 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

Last Updated

31 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for lawless

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

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More Definitions for lawless



English Language Learners Definition of lawless

: having no laws

: not obeying the law


law·​less | \ ˈlȯ-ləs \

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).


someone who never drinks alcohol

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