contrary to or without regard for the law: lawless violence.
being without law; uncontrolled by a law; unbridled; unruly; unrestrained: lawless passion.
illegal: bootleggers' lawless activity.

Origin of lawless

First recorded in 1150–1200, lawless is from the Middle English word laweles. See law1, -less
Related formslaw·less·ly, adverblaw·less·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for lawlessness

confusion, disorder, chaos, terrorism, irresponsibility

Examples from the Web for lawlessness

Contemporary Examples of lawlessness

Historical Examples of lawlessness

  • Yes, he said; the lawlessness of which you speak too easily steals in.

  • But, Pericles, violence and lawlessness—how do we define them?

  • Consequently there was a striking opportunity for lawlessness.

  • There was, nevertheless, plenty of lawlessness of the new kind.

  • That's how your money-making is justified here in the face of lawlessness and disorder.

British Dictionary definitions for lawlessness



without law
disobedient to the law
contrary to or heedless of the law
uncontrolled; unbridledlawless rage
Derived Formslawlessly, adverblawlessness, 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 lawlessness



c.1200, lawelese (see law + -less) Related: Lawlessly; lawlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper