[ law-fuhl ]
/ ˈlɔ fəl /


allowed or permitted by law; not contrary to law: a lawful enterprise.
recognized or sanctioned by law; legitimate: a lawful marriage; a lawful heir.
appointed or recognized by law; legally qualified: a lawful king.
acting or living according to the law; law-abiding: a lawful man; a lawful community.

Nearby words

  1. lawbreaker,
  2. lawes,
  3. lawes, henry,
  4. lawes, lewis edward,
  5. lawfare,
  6. lawfully,
  7. lawgiver,
  8. lawin,
  9. lawing,
  10. lawks

Origin of lawful

First recorded in 1250–1300, lawful is from the Middle English word laghful. See law1, -ful

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lawfully

British Dictionary definitions for lawfully


/ (ˈlɔːfʊl) /


allowed, recognized, or sanctioned by law; legal
Derived Formslawfully, adverblawfulness, 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 lawfully



c.1300, laghful; cf. Old Norse logfullr (see law). Related: Lawfully; lawfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper