le·git·i·ma·cy | \li-ˈji-tə-mə-sē \

Definition of legitimacy 

: the quality or state of being legitimate

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Synonyms & Antonyms for legitimacy


lawfulness, legality


illegality, illegitimacy, unlawfulness, wrongfulness

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Examples of legitimacy in a Sentence

the legitimacy of the military dictatorship was not recognized by most other nations

Recent Examples on the Web

One minor quibble is that, despite the considerable evidence that Mr. Tucker marshals, his recipe for imbuing central banks with legitimacy seems implausible. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "‘Unelected Power’ Review: Monetary Mavericks," 27 June 2018 What this means to you: The Verge reports that Microsoft and Razer made their presentation at the Xfest developer conference last year, which would give the report additional legitimacy. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Report: Microsoft, Razer push to bring mouse and keyboard support to Xbox," 25 June 2018 In Saudi Arabia, the rulers gave Wahhabi clerics leeway to impose social norms and in return received religious legitimacy for their rule. The Economist, "From pearls to black goldHow oil transformed the Gulf," 21 June 2018 With a summit at the front end, Trump conferred legitimacy and status to a leader regarded as one of the world’s worst tyrants. Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, "Fact-checking President Trump’s claims about the North Korea deal," 13 June 2018 The next two classes will focus on police legitimacy and procedural justice, as well as juvenile crimes and Internet safety. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Rocky River schools remind parents to be involved with school closing decisions for their children," 29 Jan. 2018 Lastly, Robinhood’s move into the cryptocurrency space brings additional legitimacy and attention to a burgeoning industry. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Term Sheet -- Friday, January 26," 26 Jan. 2018 Any group’s legitimacy is measured by its commitment to the notion that Iran was once, and will once again be, great. Shervin Malekzadeh, Washington Post, "What Trump doesn’t get about ideology in Iran. It’s about nationalism, not theocracy.," 25 June 2018 Many in the opposition see Falcón and Bertucci as electoral fall-guys, in the race to grant legitimacy to a deeply flawed process. Jim Wyss And Antonio Maria Delgado, miamiherald, "Can Venezuela survive another Maduro 'victory?' | Miami Herald," 18 May 2018

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

1625, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for legitimacy

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for legitimacy

The first known use of legitimacy was in 1625

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More Definitions for legitimacy


le·git·i·ma·cy | \li-ˈji-tə-mə-sē \

Legal Definition of legitimacy 

: the quality or state of being legitimate

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Comments on legitimacy

What made you want to look up legitimacy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

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