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[ih-lis-it] /ɪˈlɪs ɪt/
not legally permitted or authorized; unlicensed; unlawful.
disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons.
Origin of illicit
1645-55; < Latin illicitus. See il-2, licit
Related forms
illicitly, adverb
illicitness, noun
Can be confused
elicit, illicit.
illegal, illicit (see synonym study at illegal)
1. illegitimate, prohibited. See illegal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for illicit
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wil you then run the risk of erly indulgence in illicit plezure?

  • Thus the Priory might well ply a lucrative, if illicit, trade.

  • We were informed that there was a good deal of illicit or Blockade Whiskey as the natives call it, made in these swamps.

    Fifty Years a Hunter and Trapper Eldred Nathaniel Woodcock
  • Better of the two an imprudent match than an illicit connection.

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • I have been ordered up here to give military support to any operations that you may undertake against the illicit distillers.

    Camp Venture George Cary Eggleston
British Dictionary definitions for illicit


another word for illegal
not allowed or approved by common custom, rule, or standard: illicit sexual relations
Derived Forms
illicitly, adverb
illicitness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for illicit

c.1500, from Old French illicite (14c.) "unlawful, forbidden," from Latin illicitus "not allowed, unlawful, illegal," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + licitus "lawful," past participle of licere "to be allowed" (see licence). Related: Illicitly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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