1

legal

adjective le·gal \ ˈlē-gəl \

Definition of legal

1 :of or relating to law
  • She has many legal problems.
2 a :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.

legally

play \ˈlē-gə-lē\ adverb

Examples of legal in a Sentence

  1. She has a lot of legal problems.

  2. Do you know your legal rights?

  3. The amount of alcohol in his blood exceeded the legal limit.

  4. What you did was not legal.

  5. “Is it legal to fish in this river?” “Yes, it's perfectly legal.”

  6. The referee said it was a legal play.

Recent Examples of legal from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of legal

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

Synonym Discussion of legal

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

2

legal

noun

Definition of legal

:one that conforms to rules or the law

Recent Examples of legal from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of legal

see 1legal



LEGAL Defined for English Language Learners

legal

adjective

Definition of legal for English Language Learners

  • : of or relating to the law

  • : based on the law

  • : allowed by the law or by the rules in a game


LEGAL Defined for Kids

legal

adjective le·gal \ ˈlē-gəl \

Definition of legal for Students

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

legally

adverb

Law Dictionary

legal

adjective le·gal \ ˈlē-gəl \

legal Definition of legal

1 :of or relating to law or the processes of law
  • a legal question
  • take legal action
2 a :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 1, judicial 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
5 a :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

legally

adverb

Origin and Etymology of legal

Latin legalis, from leg- lex law



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