legal

adjective
le·​gal | \ ˈlē-gəl How to pronounce legal (audio) \

Definition of legal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to law She has many legal problems.
2a : deriving authority from or founded on law : de jure a legal government
b : having a formal status derived from law often without a basis in actual fact : titular a corporation is a legal but not a real person
c : established by law especially : statutory the legal test of mental capacity — K. C. Masteller
3 : conforming to or permitted by law or established rules The referee said it was a legal play. Fishing in this lake is legal.
4 : recognized or made effective by a court of law as distinguished from a court of equity
5 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the profession of law or of one of its members a bottle … that some legal friend had sent him— J. G. Cozzens
6 : created by the constructions of the law A legal fiction is something assumed in law to be a fact regardless of the truth of that assumption.

legal

noun

Definition of legal (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that conforms to rules or the law

Synonyms & Antonyms for legal

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for legal

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 legal in a Sentence

Adjective She has a lot of legal problems. Do you know your legal rights? The amount of alcohol in his blood exceeded the legal limit. What you did was not legal. “Is it legal to fish in this river?” “Yes, it's perfectly legal.” The referee said it was a legal play.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Antwan Little had been selling drugs – mostly marijuana, long before Ohio voters decided to make medical use legal – and Bake wasn't the type to follow robbers' orders. Amber Hunt, The Enquirer, 28 Nov. 2021 The legal firm representing St. Louis in that lawsuit will be paid 35% of the settlement, or $276 million. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Nov. 2021 South Carolina’s law has been blocked pending the outcome of that legal challenge. Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2021 Because her name change hadn’t yet been approved Imber included her then-legal name on the album cover — with a twist. Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2021 Requests from defense attorneys for expenses for an immigration lawyer or an investigator currently are subject to a judge’s approval and often delay the legal process. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, 27 Nov. 2021 The two luxury behemoths ended up suing each other in a legal melee that lasted for several years and played out like a bitter one-sided romance. Christina Binkley, Robb Report, 27 Nov. 2021 Attorneys for Hawthorne Race Course and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemens Association disputed the racing board’s legal opinion. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, 26 Nov. 2021 There's been a legal dispute brewing over the building's 2018 foreclosure and the subsequent redemption period, which is the time after a property's sale when it can still be reclaimed. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 26 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As a result, guns are banned in the area, even by those who have legal concealed carry permits. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, 16 Jan. 2020 Many of Florida’s marijuana dispensaries were not ready when Gov. Ron DeSantis made smokable medical marijuana legal in March. Marcia Heroux Pounds, sun-sentinel.com, 2 Dec. 2019 At the very end of the show, rapper Rico Nasty strutted out with a should-be-legal rolled piece of paper between her fingers. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, 12 Mar. 2019 American Media agreed to give Ms. McDougal back the rights to her story as part of an April legal settlement, but the company insisted that the Men’s Journal cover go forward as planned. WSJ, 27 June 2018 With recreational or medical marijuana legal in 29 states and the nation’s capital, the pot industry employed 121,000 people in the U.S. last year. David Goldstein And Anita Chabria, sacbee, 8 June 2018 An extravagant legal row this week suggests there may be little time left for complacency. The Economist, 7 June 2018 Barrett has asked Columbia to refund her spring term rent and tuition, and originally turned to Equip for Equality, a disability legal and advocacy organization, for help. Deanna Isaacs, Chicago Reader, 8 Apr. 2018 At the very end of the show, rapper Rico Nasty strutted out with a should-be-legal rolled piece of paper between her fingers. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, 12 Mar. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of legal

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1923, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for legal

Adjective and Noun

Anglo-French, from Latin legalis, from leg-, lex law

Learn More About legal

Time Traveler for legal

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near legal

legacy tax

legal

legal action

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for legal

Last Updated

29 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Legal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legal. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for legal

legal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of legal

: of or relating to the law
: based on the law
: allowed by the law or by the rules in a game

legal

adjective
le·​gal | \ ˈlē-gəl How to pronounce legal (audio) \

Kids Definition of legal

1 : of or relating to law or lawyers legal books
2 : based on law a legal right
3 : allowed by law or rules legal conduct a legal play in a game

Other Words from legal

legally adverb

legal

adjective
le·​gal | \ ˈlē-gəl How to pronounce legal (audio) \

Legal Definition of legal

1 : of or relating to law or the processes of law a legal question take legal action
2a : deriving authority from or founded on law a legal tariff rate a legal government
b : fulfilling the requirements of law a legal voter
c : having a status derived from law : recognized as such by law a legal certainty
d : created by operation of especially statutory law legal incompetence a legal presumption — compare conventional sense 1, judicial sense 2
e : established by law the legal test for mental capacity
3 : conforming to or permitted by law : lawful a referendum to make gambling legal
4 : recognized or made effective under principles of law as distinguished from principles of equity : deriving from or existing or valid in law as distinguished from equity — see also equity — compare equitable
5a : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the profession of law or one of its members a corporate legal department the legal community
b : of or relating to the study of law continuing legal education

Other Words from legal

legally adverb

History and Etymology for legal

Latin legalis, from leg- lex law

More from Merriam-Webster on legal

Nglish: Translation of legal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of legal for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!