outlaw

1 of 2

noun

out·​law ˈau̇t-ˌlȯ How to pronounce outlaw (audio)
1
: a person excluded from the benefit or protection of the law
2
a
: a lawless person or a fugitive from the law
b
: a person or organization under a ban or restriction
c
: one that is unconventional or rebellious
3
: an animal (such as a horse) that is wild and unmanageable
outlaw adjective

outlaw

2 of 2

verb

outlawed; outlawing; outlaws

transitive verb

1
a
: to deprive of the benefit and protection of law : declare to be an outlaw
b
: to make illegal
outlawed dueling
2
: to place under a ban or restriction
3
: to remove from legal jurisdiction or enforcement
outlawry noun

Example Sentences

Noun Billy the Kid was one of the most famous outlaws of America's early history. Verb That type of gun was outlawed last year. The government passed a bill outlawing the hiring of children under the age of 12.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Jerry Lee clearly had long enjoyed his reputation as some kind of archetypal modern outlaw, living out tragedy, violence, and dissolution as the fruits of his self-willed fall from grace. Mikal Gilmore, Rolling Stone, 31 Oct. 2022 From there, my dad listened to Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard—all of those old-school outlaw country guys. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, 8 Sep. 2022 To save her dying mother, Lupe, a Mexican-Navajo mechanic bands together with an outlaw cowgirl. Chris Willman, Variety, 26 Aug. 2022 Considered one of the most haunted hotels in the country, the Old Talbott Tavern was still new when Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone and the notorious 19th-century outlaw Jesse James checked in here. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 18 Oct. 2022 Ben goes back to 1898 and must take on a deadly outlaw in the frontier town of Salvation. Olivia Mccormack, Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2022 Harlow portrays Moll, a cunning outlaw that faces off with the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 8 Oct. 2022 Momoa shows off his range in the often comedic role of an eccentric outlaw named Flip, who was once partners with Nema's dad Nemo (Kyle Chandler). Glenn Garner, Peoplemag, 6 Oct. 2022 On a pillar in the center of the Historic Springdale Pub hangs a poster for a most unusual outlaw. oregonlive, 4 Oct. 2022
Verb
With minutes to go before Maryland lawmakers were slated to return home for the year, Amanda Rodriguez felt hopeful as a bill to outlaw prosecuting a child for prostitution finally reached the Senate floor. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2022 Nearly every year since the standards were adopted, Alabama lawmakers have introduced a bill to outlaw Common Core. Trisha Powell Crain | Tcrain@al.com, al, 29 Mar. 2022 Mass meetings were held in other rural counties, stoked by hysterical claims that the new state government would outlaw martial arts schools and such. Max B. Sawicky, The New Republic, 30 Aug. 2021 Please, please, outlaw offensive linemen pushing runners forward. Nick Canepacolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Oct. 2022 Why don’t colleges and universities simply outlaw these organizations? John Anderson, WSJ, 8 Sep. 2022 Sarver to sell Phoenix Suns, Mercury after NBA investigation backlash Will Ariz. outlaw nearly all abortions? Kye Graves, The Arizona Republic, 23 Sep. 2022 Voters in Michigan will have to wait for the state Supreme Court to decide whether a 1931 law will outlaw abortions. Max Thornberry, Fox News, 31 Aug. 2022 Kansans will vote on whether to change the state constitution and allow the Legislature to outlaw abortions. Editors, USA TODAY, 2 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'outlaw.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English outlawe, from Old English ūtlaga, from Old Norse ūtlagi, from ūt out (akin to Old English ūt out) + lag-, lǫg law — more at out entry 1, law

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of outlaw was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near outlaw

Cite this Entry

“Outlaw.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/outlaw. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

outlaw 1 of 2

noun

out·​law ˈau̇t-ˌlȯ How to pronounce outlaw (audio)
1
: a person who is not given the protection of the law
2
: a lawless person or one who is running away from the law
3
: an animal (as a horse) that is wild and hard to control
outlaw adjective

outlaw

2 of 2

verb

1
: to deprive of the protection of law
2
: to make illegal
dueling was outlawed
outlawry noun

Legal Definition

outlaw 1 of 2

noun

out·​law ˈau̇t-ˌlȯ How to pronounce outlaw (audio)
1
: a person excluded from the benefit or protection of the law
a trespasser is not an outlaw
2
: a lawless person or a fugitive from the law
3
: a person or organization (as a nation) under a ban or restriction or considered to be in defiance of norms or laws
considered an outlaw for its support of terrorism

outlaw

2 of 2

transitive verb

: to make illegal
outlawry noun

History and Etymology for outlaw

Noun

Old English ūtlaga, from Old Norse ūtlagi, from ūt out + lag lǫg law

More from Merriam-Webster on outlaw

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