[in-law, in-law]

verb (used with object) Law.

to restore (an outlaw) to the benefits and protection of the law.

Origin of inlaw

before 1000; Middle English inlawen, Old English inlagian. See in-1, law1
Related formsin·law·ry, noun




a relative by marriage.

Origin of in-law

1890–95; back formation from mother-in-law, brother-in-law, etc. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inlaw

Historical Examples of inlaw

  • I may not go against the word of the Moot, and inlaw you again by giving you a place.

    A Thane of Wessex

    Charles W. Whistler

  • We are going to hold you as a hostage until your Saxon master or your British father pay ransom for you, and inlaw us again.

    A Prince of Cornwall

    Charles W. Whistler

  • If the clergy would give him a voluntary gift, which was in no way to be considered a tax, he agreed to inlaw them.

  • I cannot inlaw you again, Heregar; for that must needs be done in full Moot, as was the outlawry.

    A Thane of Wessex

    Charles W. Whistler

British Dictionary definitions for inlaw



a relative by marriage


(postpositive; in combination) related by marriagea father-in-law

Word Origin for in-law

C19: back formation from father-in-law, etc
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 inlaw



1894, "anyone of a relationship not natural," abstracted from father-in-law, etc.

The position of the 'in-laws' (a happy phrase which is attributed ... to her Majesty, than whom no one can be better acquainted with the article) is often not very apt to promote happiness. ["Blackwood's Magazine," 1894]

The earliest recorded use of the phrase is in brother-in-law (13c.); the law is Canon Law, which defines degrees of relationship within which marriage is prohibited.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper