not legally permitted or authorized; unlicensed; unlawful.
disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons.

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)

Synonyms for illicit

1. illegitimate, prohibited. See illegal. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for illicitly

unjustly, wrongly, unjustifiably, illegitimately, bootleg

Examples from the Web for illicitly

Contemporary Examples of illicitly

Historical Examples of illicitly

  • A greater volume of trade was probably carried on illicitly with England.

    Union and Democracy

    Allen Johnson

  • The night has a subdued preciousness, like an illicitly pregnant womans.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

  • Have you good reasons for supposing him to have been illicitly connected with that girl?

    Arthur Mervyn

    Charles Brockden Brown

  • It is needless to remark that the only foodstuffs now for secret sale are those that have been stolen or illicitly concealed.

    The Secrets of a Kuttite

    Edward O. Mousley

  • Jackson County has never had a feud; its chief lawlessness has been the promiscuous sale of whiskey, illicitly, of course.

British Dictionary definitions for illicitly



another word for illegal
not allowed or approved by common custom, rule, or standardillicit sexual relations
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 illicitly



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