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  1. not legally permitted or authorized; unlicensed; unlawful.
  2. disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons.
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Origin of illicit

From the Latin word illicitus, dating back to 1645–55. See il-2, licit
Related formsil·lic·it·ly, adverbil·lic·it·ness, noun
Can be confusedelicit illicitillegal illicit (see synonym study at illegal)


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1. illegitimate, prohibited. See illegal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for illicit


  1. another word for illegal
  2. not allowed or approved by common custom, rule, or standardillicit sexual relations
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Derived Formsillicitly, adverbillicitness, 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper