lawful

lawful
legal, lawful, legitimate, licit
1. All four words share the basic meaning ‘conforming to the law’. Something is legal when it is authorized by the law of the land, legitimate when it conforms to custom or common justice, and lawful (a more old-fashioned word) when it conforms to moral or divine law. Legal is the only choice in the neutral descriptive meaning ‘relating to the law’ (as in legal language), and legitimate alone has the meaning ‘born of married parents’. Licit, which means much the same as lawful, is the least used of all these words, although illicit is somewhat more common. See also illegal.
2. For legitimate as a verb, see legitimate, legitimize.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • lawful — law·ful adj 1 a: being in harmony with the law a lawful judgment a lawful purpose b: constituted, authorized, or established by law a lawful duty 2: law abiding …   Law dictionary

  • lawful — lawful, legal, legitimate, licit mean permitted, sanctioned, or recognized by law or the law. Lawful differs from the others in implying a reference to various sorts of law (as divine law, natural law, or the law of the land, or as civil law,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Lawful — Law ful, a. 1. Conformable to law; allowed by law; legitimate; competent. [1913 Webster] 2. Constituted or authorized by law; rightful; as, the lawful owner of lands. [1913 Webster] {Lawful age}, the age when the law recognizes one s right of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lawful — law‧ful [ˈlɔːfl ǁ ˈlɒː ] adjective LAW allowed by law; = LEGAL: • The owner has the right to use the property for any lawful purpose. lawfully adverb : • a product that has been lawfully produced in a member state of the European Union… …   Financial and business terms

  • lawful — [lô′fəl] adj. 1. in conformity with the principles of the law; permitted by law [a lawful act]: see also LEGAL (sense 2) 2. recognized by or established by law [lawful debts] 3. obeying the law; law abiding SYN. LEGAL lawfully adv. lawfulness n …   English World dictionary

  • lawful — c.1300, laghful; Cf. O.N. logfullr (see LAW (Cf. law)). Related: Lawfully; lawfulness …   Etymology dictionary

  • lawful — [adj] allowable, legitimate authorized, bona fide, canonical, card carrying*, commanded, condign, constitutional, decreed, due, enacted, enforced, enjoined, established, innocent, judged, judicial, jural, juridical, jurisprudent, just,… …   New thesaurus

  • lawful — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ conforming to, permitted by, or recognized by law or rules. DERIVATIVES lawfully adverb lawfulness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • lawful — Legal; warranted or authorized by the law; having the qualifications prescribed by law; not contrary to nor forbidden by the law; not illegal. The principal distinction between the terms lawful and legal is that the former contemplates the… …   Black's law dictionary

  • lawful — Legal; warranted or authorized by the law; having the qualifications prescribed by law; not contrary to nor forbidden by the law; not illegal. The principal distinction between the terms lawful and legal is that the former contemplates the… …   Black's law dictionary

  • lawful — adjective Date: 14th century 1. a. being in harmony with the law < a lawful judgment > b. constituted, authorized, or established by law ; rightful < lawful institutions > 2. law abiding < lawful citizens > • …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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