legitimate

adjective
le·​git·​i·​mate | \ li-ˈji-tə-mət How to pronounce legitimate (audio) \

Definition of legitimate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : lawfully begotten specifically : born in wedlock
b : having full filial rights and obligations by birth a legitimate child
2a : being exactly as intended or presented : neither spurious nor false a legitimate grievance a legitimate claim a legitimate practitioner " … we are pretty good at separating legitimate pain from drug-seeking behavior. … "— Kenneth W. Fogelberg also : being an actual example of something specified a legitimate threat to national security
b : genuinely good, impressive, or capable of success And if he can fix his start … he is a legitimate contender for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.— Sean Ingle
3a : accordant with law or with established legal forms and requirements a legitimate government
b : ruling by or based on the strict principle of hereditary right a legitimate king
4 : conforming to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards a legitimate advertising expenditure a legitimate inference also : fair or reasonable : valid She raised some legitimate concerns.
5 : relating to plays acted by professional actors but not including revues, burlesque, or some forms of musical comedy the legitimate theater

legitimate

verb
le·​git·​i·​mate | \ li-ˈji-tə-ˌmāt How to pronounce legitimate (audio) \
legitimated; legitimating

Definition of legitimate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make (someone or something) legitimate (see legitimate entry 1):
a(1) : to give legal status or authorization to
(2) : to show or affirm to be justified
(3) : to lend authority or respectability to
b : to give (a child born out of wedlock) the same legal status as a child born in wedlock

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Other Words from legitimate

Verb

legitimation \ li-​ˌji-​tə-​ˈmā-​shən How to pronounce legitimate (audio) \ noun
legitimator \ li-​ˈji-​tə-​ˌmā-​tər How to pronounce legitimate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for legitimate

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for legitimate

Adjective

lawful, legal, legitimate, licit mean being in accordance with law. 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 legitimate in a Sentence

Adjective Law books were getting thicker by the week with Supreme Court decisions barring legitimate claims because they weren't timely filed. — John Grisham, The Chamber, 1995 Even in many courtrooms, where there is valid concern about the privacy of defendants, judges recognize that camera coverage serves a legitimate public interest. New Republic, 22 Feb. 1993 He was indeed already a legitimate child according to the law of Scotland, by the subsequent marriage of his parents. — Sir Walter Scott, The Heart of Mid-Lothian, 1818 legitimate means for achieving success the legitimate use of firearms There's no legitimate reason for prescribing this medication to a child. Verb Which comes first, the desire to legitimate euthanasia or the nullifying of a distinction between killing and allowing to die? — Daniel Callahan, Commonweal, 2 June 2000 Poland has ceased being a nation with even a pretense of Communist rule, a rule that is legitimated by Marxist ideology. — Irving Kristol, Wall Street Journal, 11 Jan. 1982 … they are more concerned with the ways in which schools and colleges legitimate and maintain inequality than with the ways they devalue and restrict personal autonomy. — Christopher Jencks, New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 1976 slang words legitimated by usage Her tendency to be secretive only serves to legitimate their suspicions.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Both sides in the labor battle are permitted to challenge any of the ballots cast about whether the worker who cast it is legitimate or if it was properly signed. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Obama’s former press secretary under fire from Left for defending Amazon in Alabama," 1 Apr. 2021 The same Christopher Newport University poll that shows Republicans in Virginia believe the election was stolen also shows that two-thirds of independents and 100% of Democrats believe Joe Biden's victory was legitimate. Matthew Barakat, Star Tribune, "'Election integrity' becomes key buzzword in VA GOP race," 1 Apr. 2021 Unlike other leaks though, this leak appears to be legitimate because the person who shared the details has been verified. Chris Smith, BGR, "Massive Marvel spoiler might’ve just leaked the entire plot for ‘Eternals’," 31 Mar. 2021 Perhaps a loyal customer who has a legitimate reason to use automation? Daniel Woods, Forbes, "For Telcos, There’s An Inherent Cybersecurity Risk In Just Doing Business," 10 Mar. 2021 Nevertheless, even if there is a legitimate reason behind his defensive decline this season, the numbers remain the numbers. oregonlive, "Damian Lillard certainly a viable MVP candidate, but how do his analytics compare to those of recent winners?," 15 Feb. 2021 As in Pennsylvania, there is no legal recourse for the Georgia legislature to alter the election after the fact, and therefore no legitimate reason to call a session. Author: Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, Rachael Bade, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump asks Pennsylvania House speaker for help overturning election results," 8 Dec. 2020 Biden and his officials need to admit there is legitimate reason for distrust, and work to earn it back. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "To Control COVID, Biden Needs to Marshal Federal Resources—and Change Attitudes," 8 Dec. 2020 Amid the cacophony around modern-day cancel culture, there is one place where concerns are legitimate: college campuses. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Faux cancel culture outrage masks real concerns," 21 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Simmons is a regular triple-double threat and Harris went from overpriced scapegoat to legitimate All-Star candidate averaging a career-best 20.2 points. Dan Gelston, ajc, "AP Interview: Morey embraces challenges of leading 76ers," 13 Mar. 2021 There have been authoritarian purges across several government departments, challenges to obviously legitimate vote tallies, and absurd claims of fraud. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Can the Media Break Its Trump Addiction?," 19 Nov. 2020 The battle has ultimately slowed benefits to legitimate claims — there were about 20,000 unpaid claimants as of Monday, according to the state's UIA. Adrienne Roberts, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan unemployment agency director to lawmakers: Fraud is 'a constant battle'," 19 Feb. 2021 Instead, multiple outlets insist that the Capitol riots were a violent insurrection, while the social justice riots were mostly peaceful responses to legitimate grievances. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Media continues to downplay impact of summer riots while condemning US Capitol siege," 20 Jan. 2021 This has led to legitimate fears that Indian Muslims will face discriminatory treatment. Suvrat Raju, Scientific American, "Scientists Weigh In on India's Citizenship Debate," 15 Jan. 2021 Yes, Heiskanen’s leap won’t be the same as Hintz and Gurianov, who transformed from AHL/NHL ‘tweeners to legitimate scoring threats in the NHL. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Which Stars player is ready to make ‘the leap?’," 22 Dec. 2020 The current offensive line can’t block legitimate SEC defensive fronts. Christopher Smith, al, "Under bettors should cash again on Texas A&M-Auburn," 1 Dec. 2020 In other words, the U.N. was not intended to end power politics, but to legitimate it. Daniel Bessner, The New Republic, "America Has No Duty to Rule the World," 21 Oct. 2020

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for legitimate

Adjective and Verb

Middle English legitimat, from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare to legitimate, from Latin legitimus legitimate, from leg-, lex law

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Time Traveler for legitimate

Time Traveler

The first known use of legitimate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for legitimate

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Legitimate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legitimate. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for legitimate

legitimate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of legitimate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: allowed according to rules or laws
: real, accepted, or official
: fair or reasonable

legitimate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of legitimate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) real, accepted, or official
: to show that (something or someone) is fair or reasonable

legitimate

adjective
le·​git·​i·​mate | \ li-ˈji-tə-mət How to pronounce legitimate (audio) \

Kids Definition of legitimate

1 : accepted by the law as rightful : lawful a legitimate heir
2 : being right or acceptable a legitimate excuse

Other Words from legitimate

legitimately adverb

legitimate

adjective
le·​git·​i·​mate | \ lə-ˈji-tə-mət How to pronounce legitimate (audio) \

Legal Definition of legitimate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : conceived or born of parents lawfully married to each other or having been made through legal procedure equal in status to one so conceived or born also : having rights and obligations under the law as the child of such birth
2 : being neither spurious nor false a legitimate grievance
3 : being in accordance with law or with established legal forms and requirements a legitimate government
4 : conforming to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards a legitimate claim of entitlement a legitimate business reason

Other Words from legitimate

legitimately adverb

legitimate

transitive verb
le·​git·​i·​mate | \ lə-ˈji-tə-ˌmāt How to pronounce legitimate (audio) \
legitimated; legitimating

Legal Definition of legitimate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make legitimate: as
a : to give legal status or authorization to
b : to show or affirm to be justified or have merit
c : to put (an illegitimate child) in the state of a child born of married parents before the law by legal means — compare filiate

Other Words from legitimate

legitimation \ lə-​ˌji-​tə-​ˈmā-​shən How to pronounce legitimate (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for legitimate

Adjective

Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare to give legal status to, from Latin legitimus legally sanctioned, from leg-, lex law

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