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
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Winning bureaucratic, legislative, or even legal battles is not the same as winning the country.—Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 10 Sep. 2023 After calling an executive session to discuss potential legal issues, the committee tabled the matter, without discussing its merits on Wednesday.—Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2023 Donald Trump likely is, and the four different legal matters where Donald Trump has been charged with 83 counts stand in stark contrast.—Eden Villalovas, Washington Examiner, 10 Sep. 2023 Musk said in an X post that their youngest child’s name is Tau Techno Mechanicus, while Isaacson’s book states that the child’s legal name is Techno Mechanicus Musk and his nickname is Tau.—Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2023 Richard Lehmann, a lawyer suing the district who is also the longtime legal counsel for Republicans in the state Senate, appeared at Wednesday’s event with Haley and Moms for Liberty.—Emma Platoff, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Sep. 2023 Tristan Thompson, who became his younger brother Amari Thompson's primary caregiver after their mother Andrea's death in January, filed to become Amari's legal guardian.—Nikki Dobrin, Peoplemag, 9 Sep. 2023 The discussion at the symposium will cover various aspects of AI in image creation, including legal implications, copyright issues, biases, and potential threats to the documentary value of photography.—Photovogue, Vogue, 29 Aug. 2023 Some people posting to message boards on site likes Reddit and Blind in recent weeks discuss legal rights for employees who say they were hired 12 months earlier as a virtual employee and whether they can be forced to work in an office.—Brian Fung, CNN, 29 Aug. 2023
The attempt to make the illicit legal against its own definition, by redefining it in more acceptable terms, is narrative violence.—A.d. Carson, Spin, 26 Aug. 2023 The Justice Department has challenged Purdue’s deal with members of the Sackler family—and the popular legal...—Akiko Matsuda, WSJ, 11 Aug. 2023 Financing, production and distribution legal handled by Eugene Pikulin at 3B Law.—Angelique Jackson, Variety, 24 Feb. 2023 Truthful information disseminated by the news media about matters of public importance carry the highest legal of protection under the First Amendment.—Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 21 June 2022 As a result, guns are banned in the area, even by those who have legal concealed carry permits.—Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, 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, 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, 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, 27 June 2018 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'legal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Adjective and Noun
Anglo-French, from Latin legalis, from leg-, lex law
: 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
: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the profession of law or one of its members