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

This is the first time the Mexican federal government has challenged the legitimacy of the human rights commission since its creation as a government watchdog in 1992. Luis Gómez Romero, The Conversation, "Mexican president López Obrador has a woman problem," 10 July 2019 The skepticism from Trump and Powell overshadowed an important step for the legitimacy of the blockchain industry. Alyssa Newcomb, NBC News, "For bitcoin proponents, Trump's critiques come as a sign of validation," 12 July 2019 To gain the necessary experience and bolster her legitimacy, Stewart decided to work toward a medical degree. Leila Mcneill, Smithsonian, "The Woman Who Revealed the Missing Link Between Viruses and Cancer," 17 June 2019 Elections are important, and, increasingly, popular participation is a requirement for legitimacy. Julia Azari, Vox, "The forgotten majority: how norms inform the practice of democracy," 21 Sep. 2018 The justices themselves lack any formal enforcement tool except their own legitimacy contained in the power of words and ideas. Bill Mears, Fox News, "The 'forgotten' Supreme Court decision and its impact on our politics," 9 Sep. 2018 Violence broke out, the riot police overreacted, and the government lost its fading legitimacy. The Economist, "Russia plays games with Georgia," 6 July 2019 Governments in developing countries could lose their power of taxation, and perhaps their legitimacy. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "What could possibly go wrong with Facebook’s Libra?," 22 June 2019 Whether true or not, the courtly gossip only further undermined both Joanna’s legitimacy and Henry’s power. National Geographic, "To seize power in Spain, Queen Isabella had to play it smart," 28 Mar. 2019

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

7 Aug 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).


of or relating to the heavens

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