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See more synonyms for lawless on Thesaurus.com
  1. contrary to or without regard for the law: lawless violence.
  2. being without law; uncontrolled by a law; unbridled; unruly; unrestrained: lawless passion.
  3. illegal: bootleggers' lawless activity.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


  1. without law
  2. disobedient to the law
  3. contrary to or heedless of the law
  4. uncontrolled; unbridledlawless rage
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper