Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

Words You've Been Using Wrong

unlawful

[uhn-law-fuh l] /ʌnˈlɔ fəl/
adjective
1.
not lawful; contrary to law; illegal.
2.
born out of wedlock; illegitimate.
Origin of unlawful
1250-1300
First recorded in 1250-1300, unlawful is from the Middle English word unlaweful. See un-1, lawful
Related forms
unlawfully, adverb
unlawfulness, noun
Synonyms
1. illicit. See illegal. 2. bastard, natural.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for unlawful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No lawful passion can ever be so bewildering or ecstatic as an unlawful one.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • An unlawful expedient can not become a permanent condition of government.

  • Yet I respect this marriage of thine, as all Muslims must—for all that in itself it was unlawful.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • In Ezra, the Tenth, the ram is offered for a trespass because of an unlawful marriage.

    An Orkney Maid Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • And they say, that the military uniforms now introducing, are haram or unlawful.

British Dictionary definitions for unlawful

unlawful

/ʌnˈlɔːfʊl/
adjective
1.
illegal
2.
illicit; immoral: unlawful love
3.
an archaic word for illegitimate
Derived Forms
unlawfully, adverb
unlawfulness, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unlawful
adj.

c.1300, from un- (1) "not" + lawful. Unlawful assembly is recorded in statutes from late 15c. Related: Unlawfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for unlawful

Word Value for unlawful

14
19
Scrabble Words With Friends