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[lee-guh l] /ˈli gəl/
permitted by law; lawful:
Such acts are not legal.
of or relating to law; connected with the law or its administration:
the legal profession.
appointed, established, or authorized by law; deriving authority from law.
recognized by law rather than by equity.
of, relating to, or characteristic of the profession of law or of lawyers:
a legal mind.
  1. of or relating to the Mosaic Law.
  2. of or relating to the doctrine that salvation is gained by good works rather than through free grace.
a person who acts in a legal manner or with legal authority.
an alien who has entered a country legally.
a person whose status is protected by law.
a fish or game animal, within specified size or weight limitations, that the law allows to be caught and kept during an appropriate season.
a foreigner who conducts espionage against a host country while working there in a legitimate capacity, often in the diplomatic service.
legals, authorized investments that may be made by fiduciaries, as savings banks or trustees.
Origin of legal
1490-1500; < Latin lēgālis of the law, equivalent to lēg- (stem of lēx) law + -ālis -al1
Related forms
legally, adverb
postlegal, adjective
prelegal, adjective
pseudolegal, adjective
quasi-legal, adjective
quasi-legally, adverb
unlegal, adjective
unlegally, adverb
unlegalness, noun
3. licit, legitimate, sanctioned. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for legals
Historical Examples
  • "Yeah, the legals want the Crusader for their propaganda," he said wearily.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • Used that, with a bit of my old reputation, to get your Mayor Gannett to give me the same from the legals.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • Pick out any place you want, train them to handle those damned legals the way Murdoch handled the Stonewall boys.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • The legals simply came boiling down the street, equipped with long pikes with lead-weighted ends.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • The legals had never quite reached the front of the building, obviously, and were now cut into sections.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • His final sight was that of the legals and Municipals wildly scrambling for cover from each other.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • The Municipal forces were rushing up toward the dome, and surprised legals were frantically arriving in trucks.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • Most of them belonged to Nick the Croop, who had apparently decided the legals would win.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • Scrip was useless to them, and the legals were raiding all cargoes destined for Wayne's section.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
British Dictionary definitions for legals


established by or founded upon law; lawful
of or relating to law
recognized, enforceable, or having a remedy at law rather than in equity
relating to or characteristic of the profession of law
Derived Forms
legally, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin lēgālis, from lēx law
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 legals



mid-15c. "of or pertaining to the law," from Middle French légal or directly from Latin legalis "legal, pertaining to the law," from lex (genitive legis) "law," possibly related to legere "to gather," on notion of "a collection of rules" (see lecture (n.)).

Sense of "permitted by law" is from 1640s. Related: Legally. The Old French form was leial, loial (see leal, loyal). Legal tender is from 1740.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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