legal

adjective
le·​gal | \ ˈlē-gəl How to pronounce legal (audio) \

Definition of legal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to law She has many legal problems.
2a : deriving authority from or founded on law : de jure a legal government
b : having a formal status derived from law often without a basis in actual fact : titular a corporation is a legal but not a real person
c : established by law especially : statutory the legal test of mental capacity — K. C. Masteller
3 : conforming to or permitted by law or established rules The referee said it was a legal play. Fishing in this lake is legal.
4 : recognized or made effective by a court of law as distinguished from a court of equity
5 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the profession of law or of one of its members a bottle … that some legal friend had sent him— J. G. Cozzens
6 : created by the constructions of the law A legal fiction is something assumed in law to be a fact regardless of the truth of that assumption.

legal

noun

Definition of legal (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that conforms to rules or the law

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Synonyms & Antonyms for legal

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for legal

Adjective

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

Examples of legal in a Sentence

Adjective She has a lot of legal problems. Do you know your legal rights? The amount of alcohol in his blood exceeded the legal limit. What you did was not legal. “Is it legal to fish in this river?” “Yes, it's perfectly legal.” The referee said it was a legal play.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Maddon then countered, asking the umpires to check if Davis’ slide was legal. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Angels wait out long rain delay and long review, then are crushed by Blue Jays," 11 Apr. 2021 Thirty-six of the 45 sports franchises for which Bally Sports will hold local TV rights play in states where gambling is not legal. Gabe Lacques, USA Today, "The big bet: Sports gambling has leagues, networks and books desperate for a piece of your action," 10 Apr. 2021 Until that date, which is different every year, the issue of whether city or county mask mandates are legal is up for debate. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, "Ducey signs bill to let businesses ignore mask mandates; law won't take effect for months," 10 Apr. 2021 Ingebrigtsen said in an interview Thursday that the addition of wastewater projects, rural septic funding and flood control investments is legal, based on advice from experts. Tony Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Senate panel again tries to alter projects with constitutional backing," 8 Apr. 2021 Cultivating, selling and commercially transporting marijuana would still not be legal until 2024, under the bill’s current language. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Virginia legislature reconvenes to address budget, marijuana, guns," 7 Apr. 2021 Recreational and medical marijuana use is legal in Michigan. Rachel Trent, CNN, "A Michigan university is offering college students a scholarship to study cannabis," 6 Apr. 2021 Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Google’s usage of Java APIs was legal, and the US IT industry breathed a sigh of relief. Forrester, Forbes, "Google V. Oracle: The Ruling At The Supreme Court," 6 Apr. 2021 Being legal doesn’t necessarily make something advisable, though. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "Coronavirus vaccine passports beg the question: Who should know whether you’ve gotten the shot?," 3 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As a result, guns are banned in the area, even by those who have legal concealed carry permits. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Gun groups: Virginia Democrats want violence to disrupt, ‘smear’ gun control protest," 16 Jan. 2020 Many of Florida’s marijuana dispensaries were not ready when Gov. Ron DeSantis made smokable medical marijuana legal in March. Marcia Heroux Pounds, sun-sentinel.com, "Finally, you’ll be able to buy marijuana the way you want it," 2 Dec. 2019 At the very end of the show, rapper Rico Nasty strutted out with a should-be-legal rolled piece of paper between her fingers. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Our Very Favorite Moments From the Fall 2019 Collections," 12 Mar. 2019 American Media agreed to give Ms. McDougal back the rights to her story as part of an April legal settlement, but the company insisted that the Men’s Journal cover go forward as planned. WSJ, "Ex-Playmate Alleging Trump Affair to Get Men’s Journal Cover," 27 June 2018 With recreational or medical marijuana legal in 29 states and the nation’s capital, the pot industry employed 121,000 people in the U.S. last year. David Goldstein And Anita Chabria, sacbee, "Pot businesses are on a hiring spree. Here’s how much the jobs pay," 8 June 2018 An extravagant legal row this week suggests there may be little time left for complacency. The Economist, "Donald Trump’s powers are not quite as vast as his lawyers claim," 7 June 2018 Barrett has asked Columbia to refund her spring term rent and tuition, and originally turned to Equip for Equality, a disability legal and advocacy organization, for help. Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader, "How many emotional support animals is too many?," 8 Apr. 2018 At the very end of the show, rapper Rico Nasty strutted out with a should-be-legal rolled piece of paper between her fingers. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Our Very Favorite Moments From the Fall 2019 Collections," 12 Mar. 2019

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1923, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for legal

Adjective and Noun

Anglo-French, from Latin legalis, from leg-, lex law

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Time Traveler for legal

Time Traveler

The first known use of legal was in the 15th century

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Statistics for legal

Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Legal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legal. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for legal

legal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of legal

: of or relating to the law
: based on the law
: allowed by the law or by the rules in a game

legal

adjective
le·​gal | \ ˈlē-gəl How to pronounce legal (audio) \

Kids Definition of legal

1 : of or relating to law or lawyers legal books
2 : based on law a legal right
3 : allowed by law or rules legal conduct a legal play in a game

Other Words from legal

legally adverb

legal

adjective
le·​gal | \ ˈlē-gəl How to pronounce legal (audio) \

Legal Definition of legal

1 : of or relating to law or the processes of law a legal question take legal action
2a : deriving authority from or founded on law a legal tariff rate a legal government
b : fulfilling the requirements of law a legal voter
c : having a status derived from law : recognized as such by law a legal certainty
d : created by operation of especially statutory law legal incompetence a legal presumption — compare conventional sense 1, judicial sense 2
e : established by law the legal test for mental capacity
3 : conforming to or permitted by law : lawful a referendum to make gambling legal
4 : recognized or made effective under principles of law as distinguished from principles of equity : deriving from or existing or valid in law as distinguished from equity — see also equity — compare equitable
5a : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the profession of law or one of its members a corporate legal department the legal community
b : of or relating to the study of law continuing legal education

Other Words from legal

legally adverb

History and Etymology for legal

Latin legalis, from leg- lex law

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More from Merriam-Webster on legal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for legal

Nglish: Translation of legal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of legal for Arabic Speakers

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