un·​law·​ful | \ ˌən-ˈlȯ-fəl How to pronounce unlawful (audio) \

Definition of unlawful

1 : not lawful : illegal
2 : not morally right or conventional

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Other Words from unlawful

unlawfully \ ˌən-​ˈlȯ-​f(ə-​)lē How to pronounce unlawfully (audio) \ adverb
unlawfulness \ ˌən-​ˈlȯ-​fəl-​nəs How to pronounce unlawfulness (audio) \ noun

Examples of unlawful in a Sentence

The sale of alcohol to minors is unlawful. it is unlawful to set off fireworks within the city limits
Recent Examples on the Web Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly soon after and directed people to leave. oregonlive, "Portland protests to continue for 20th consecutive day Tuesday," 16 June 2020 Twenty-seven people — a group since dubbed the Bay Bridge 27 — were cited and released for unlawful assembly, said CHP spokesman Officer John Fransen. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco actors demand change after painting BLM on Bay Bridge," 15 June 2020 Earlier this month, Jake Paul was charged with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly after video showed him at a Scottsdale, Arizona, mall as it was being looted, police said. Fernando Alfonso Iii, CNN, "Some influencers spark backlash after using protests as backdrop for their content," 13 June 2020 Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and tried to break up the protest. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "'What message are we sending?' — Arizona's Capitol is fortified by fences with razor wire," 10 June 2020 The protests in Portland were mostly peaceful during the day, but unrest grew after dark over the last three nights and the gatherings were declared an unlawful assembly. Peter Martinez, CBS News, "Portland police chief resigns, African American lieutenant promoted amid George Floyd protests," 8 June 2020 Smith said police had declare an unlawful assembly and were making arrests. Steven Sloan, Time, "Massive, Largely Peaceful, Protests Against Police Brutality Continue Across the Nation," 7 June 2020 Arrington was taken into custody the night of May 29, charged with one count of unlawful assembly and released the following afternoon. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "What we know about the 170-plus people arrested amid the ongoing Breonna Taylor protests," 6 June 2020 Jake Paul was charged with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly after videos surfaced of him at an Arizona mall, which was looted on Saturday, May 30. Omar Sanchez, EW.com, "YouTube star Jake Paul charged with trespassing following Arizona mall looting incident," 4 June 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for unlawful

Time Traveler

The first known use of unlawful was in the 14th century

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Statistics for unlawful

Last Updated

21 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unlawful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlawful. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for unlawful


How to pronounce unlawful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unlawful

formal : not allowed by the law


un·​law·​ful | \ ˌən-ˈlȯ-fəl How to pronounce unlawful (audio) \

Kids Definition of unlawful

: not lawful : illegal

Other Words from unlawful

unlawfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb



Legal Definition of unlawful

1 : not lawful : not authorized or justified by law
2 : acting contrary to or in defiance of the law an unlawful possessor

Other Words from unlawful

unlawfully adverb
unlawfulness noun

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Comments on unlawful

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