[ il-i-jit-uh-muh-see ]
See synonyms for illegitimacy on
noun,plural il·le·git·i·ma·cies.
  1. the state or quality of being illegitimate.

Origin of illegitimacy

First recorded in 1670–80; illegitim(ate) + -acy

Words Nearby illegitimacy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use illegitimacy in a sentence

  • Violet Walbridge was a failure at illegitimacy and lawless passion, and, what was worse, she knew it.

    Happy House | Betsey Riddle, Freifrau von Hutten zum Stolzenberg
  • The spectres of illegitimacy and civil ruin are what would stare them in the face, and turn their very lips so white.

  • But the story of his illegitimacy and foreign birth was current long before this date was established.

  • The best aspects both of legitimacy and of illegitimacy were to be stereoscoped in the perfect birth.

    Gray youth | Oliver Onions
  • The subject is difficult and unpleasant: illegitimacy is wicked and, therefore, must not be talked about.

    Women's Wild Oats | C. Gasquoine Hartley

Cultural definitions for illegitimacy


The condition of being born to unmarried parents. It was once considered a mark of disgrace but is generally more accepted now.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.