le·​git·​i·​ma·​cy | \ li-ˈji-tə-mə-sē How to pronounce legitimacy (audio) \

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

Indeed, this film's obsession with technical legitimacy inevitably falls into Hollywood pitfalls, because there's no getting around the trickiness of pacing an entertaining, cheesy film while simultaneously getting the computer details correct. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Unfriended: Dark Web wardrives straight into the bad-tech-film toilet," 20 July 2018 In the right context, the majesty of the monarchy can offer legitimacy to what was previously deemed illegitimate. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Beyond The Favourite: The Royal Family's Very Queer History," 22 Feb. 2019 Egyptian authorities went to great lengths to bolster turnout in a bid to give the election legitimacy. Menna Zaki, BostonGlobe.com, "Egyptian media say election turnout was around 40 percent," 29 Mar. 2018 With little opposition tolerated and widespread apathy about the outcome amid stagnating living standards, the Kremlin’s main task is to ensure turnout for Sunday’s election is enough to give Putin’s new term a stamp of legitimacy. Henry Meyer, Bloomberg.com, "Russians Vote on New Putin Term as Tensions Flare With West," 17 Mar. 2018 McCarthy, the classmate’s lawyer, said Ramos was adept at using the legal system to suggest a sense of legitimacy to what was really an extension of his stalker-like behavior. Anchorage Daily News, "Maryland newspaper shooting suspect’s anger flared, and fell silent. Then it exploded, police say," 8 July 2018 In its unanimous 23-page opinion, the three-judge Superior Court panel made quick work of one of Kane’s arguments — that the special prosecutor who first built the case against her lacked legal legitimacy. Craig R. Mccoy, Philly.com, "Ex-AG Kathleen Kane's conviction affirmed by Pa. appeals court," 25 May 2018 On the other hand, a lack of FDA and DEA approval has hardly prevented an industry of beauty and wellness companies from using CBD in everything from mascara to bath bombs, despite the majority of these products lacking legitimacy. Angela Chen, The Verge, "The FDA supports a cannabis-derived drug, but it’s still too hard to study pot," 20 Apr. 2018 To some readers, historical fiction still lacks legitimacy. John Vernon, New York Times, "Two Novels Trace Parallels Between Past and Present, or Create Them," 16 Feb. 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

15 May 2019

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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 How to pronounce legitimacy (audio) \

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).


a strong desire or propensity

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