Synonyms & Antonyms of legal

1 permitted by law
  • the congressman's fund-raising efforts, though arguably unethical, were determined to be legal

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2 following or according to the rules
  • the referee declared it a legal play

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Frequently Asked Questions About legal

How is the word legal different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of legal are lawful, legitimate, and licit. While all these words mean "being in accordance with law," 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

When can lawful be used instead of legal?

The meanings of lawful and legal largely overlap; however, lawful may apply to conformity with law of any sort (such as natural, divine, common, or canon).

the lawful sovereign

Where would legitimate be a reasonable alternative to legal?

In some situations, the words legitimate and legal are roughly equivalent. However, 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

When would licit be a good substitute for legal?

The words licit and legal can be used in similar contexts, but 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

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Time Traveler for legal

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Legal.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on legal

Dictionary: Definition of legal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with legal

Spanish Central: Translation of legal

Nglish: Translation of legal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of legal for Arabic Speakers

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