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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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 Historically, on the OTC, legitimate and illegitimate companies alike often chose not to make their financial statements public. Jason Zweig, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021 Taiwan, which broke away from mainland China in 1949 after the end of the Chinese Civil War, sees itself as the legitimate (and democratic) government, as opposed to the Chinese Communist Party's rule from Beijing. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 6 Oct. 2021 How much of that was legitimate and how much of it was fool’s gold? Jerry Beach, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 The state has eliminated its backlog of unprocessed initial claims, Ficke said, allowing employees to focus instead on determining whether claims flagged for potential fraud are legitimate or not. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, 30 Sep. 2021 As part of its Tuesday filing, the plaintiffs said traditional ecological knowledge and western science both show that wolves have a legitimate and important ecological role on the landscape. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Sep. 2021 Now, Carr is positioned as a starting guard on a Texas team that will enter Beard’s first reason with a top-five ranking and legitimate national title aspirations. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 16 Sep. 2021 Wrestling with questions of faith is perfectly legitimate (and even necessary), but only to a point. Sarah Schutte, National Review, 12 Sep. 2021 But it’s that secondary and legitimate concerns with the coaching that cause the greatest reservations with Arizona. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Jackson has improved as a drop-back passer while remaining one of the league’s most electrifying athletes, while Herbert has taken a stunning leap from promising rookie to legitimate MVP candidate. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, 13 Oct. 2021 Sites utilising the Reblaze solution inhabit their own private, secure cloud on the Internet, fully accessible to legitimate traffic but invisible to assailants. Bruce Rogers, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have all begun peppering users' feeds with official guidance from the CDC and offering links to legitimate websites. Allison Morrow, CNN, 26 Aug. 2021 Often, fears surrounding deodorant are tied to legitimate fears of getting a scary diagnosis. Katie Berohn, Good Housekeeping, 16 Aug. 2021 The House speaker has given GOP lawmakers legitimate cause to boycott a process in which they were poised to embarrass themselves defending President Trump. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 22 July 2021 In a country where even doctors and lawyers often make little money, a professional baseball contract offers one of the few gateways to legitimate wealth. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 July 2021 This can include apps and passports that will connect to legitimate state immunization databases, hopefully making counterfeit vaccination cards eventually obsolete. Erica Campbell, refinery29.com, 10 June 2021 His transition from prospective to legitimate frontline starter has allowed the Dodgers to thrive under particularly threatening circumstances. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near legitimate

legitimacy

legitimate

legitimately

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Statistics for legitimate

Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Legitimate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legitimate. Accessed 27 Oct. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on legitimate

Nglish: Translation of legitimate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of legitimate for Arabic Speakers

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