- forbidden by law or statute.
- contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.: The referee ruled that it was an illegal forward pass.
- Informal: Disparaging and Offensive. illegal alien.
Origin of illegal
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. unlawful; illegitimate; illicit; unlicensed.
1, 2. Illegal, unlawful, illegitimate, illicit, criminal can all describe actions not in accord with law. Illegal refers most specifically to violations of statutes or, in organized athletics, codified rules: an illegal seizure of property; an illegal block ( in football ). Unlawful means not sanctioned by or according to law: an unlawful claim to the inheritance; to take unlawful advantage of the trading situation. Illegitimate means lacking legal or traditional right or rights: an illegitimate child; illegitimate use of privileged knowledge. Illicit, which originally meant simply “not permitted,” now most often applies to matters regulated by law with specific emphasis on the way things are carried out: illicit conversion of property; an illicit attempt to control the market. Criminal most often refers to violation of the statutes of penal as opposed to civil law. All felonies are criminal as are all crimes sometimes punishable by death such as murder, arson, and kidnapping: a criminal act.
3. See illegal alien.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for illegally
Today, a lack of provenance often means one of two things: an artifact is forged or an artifact was illegally acquired.Dismembering History: The Shady Online Trade in Ancient Texts
November 23, 2014
In 2010, however, a Georgian court sentenced Batirashvili to three years of jail for illegally possessing a weapon.ISIS Is Putin’s Problem, Too, and This Chechen Is One Reason Why.
September 29, 2014
Rawashda, an undocumented Palestinian in Israel illegally, was taken into custody.Gay Palestinians In Israel: The 'Invisible Men'
August 13, 2014
RAMON: (Seething with contempt) Secret ant landing strips, illegally established on foreign soil.Whit Stillman on the 20th Anniversary of ‘Barcelona’, His New Amazon Series, and the Myth of the Ugly Expat
August 10, 2014
“I did a walk in 1973 illegally in the northern side of the Sydney Harbor Bridge,” he says.Philippe Petit’s Moment of Concern Walking the WTC Tightrope
August 8, 2014
But would they admit it to us, and, above all, would they admit they had obtained her illegally?Things as They Are
In 1923 he entered the United States illegally and remained for two years.Secret Armies
John L. Spivak
And this, as has been seen, was practically but illegally accomplished.History of the United Netherlands, 1590-1599, Vol. III. Complete
John Lothrop Motley
And when not able to get them legally, they have continued their efforts to get them illegally.East-West Trade Trends
Harold E. Stassen
I was terribly sore, for I knew I had been illegally treated.The Autobiography of a Thief
- forbidden by law; unlawful; illicit
- unauthorized or prohibited by a code of official or accepted rules
- a person who has entered or attempted to enter a country illegally
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for illegally
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper