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

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 That could mean further regulation down the road, which would likely lead to reduced volatility for bitcoin and more legitimacy in global financial markets. Paul R. La Monica And Jackie Wattles, CNN, "Bitcoin surges past $10,000 for the first time in a year," 22 June 2019 This is not to say that there is no legitimacy to military courts. Batya Ungar-sargon, The New York Review of Books, "A Palestinian in Israeli Military Court: Issa Amro, the Judge, & Me," 17 June 2019 Nothing would do more to validate that legitimacy than winning a second term. Peter Baker, New York Times, "Four Years Ago Trump Was Seen as a Sideshow. Now He Is the Show.," 17 June 2019 Our government must make transparent, good-faith efforts to police itself, or risk losing legitimacy in the public’s eyes. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The Lessons of the Mueller Probe," 12 June 2019 The legitimacy of the method, so far untested in a court of law, was expected to be a major flashpoint in the potentially precedent-setting case. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "A Murder Trial Will Allow DNA Evidence From a Genealogy Site," 11 June 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

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


something desired as essential

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