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legal

[lee-guh l]
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adjective
  1. permitted by law; lawful: Such acts are not legal.
  2. of or relating to law; connected with the law or its administration: the legal profession.
  3. appointed, established, or authorized by law; deriving authority from law.
  4. recognized by law rather than by equity.
  5. of, relating to, or characteristic of the profession of law or of lawyers: a legal mind.
  6. Theology.
    1. of or relating to the Mosaic Law.
    2. of or relating to the doctrine that salvation is gained by good works rather than through free grace.
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noun
  1. a person who acts in a legal manner or with legal authority.
  2. an alien who has entered a country legally.
  3. a person whose status is protected by law.
  4. a fish or game animal, within specified size or weight limitations, that the law allows to be caught and kept during an appropriate season.
  5. a foreigner who conducts espionage against a host country while working there in a legitimate capacity, often in the diplomatic service.
  6. legals, authorized investments that may be made by fiduciaries, as savings banks or trustees.
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Origin of legal

1490–1500; < Latin lēgālis of the law, equivalent to lēg- (stem of lēx) law + -ālis -al1
Related formsle·gal·ly, adverbpost·le·gal, adjectivepre·le·gal, adjectivepseu·do·le·gal, adjectivequa·si-le·gal, adjectivequa·si-le·gal·ly, adverbun·le·gal, adjectiveun·le·gal·ly, adverbun·le·gal·ness, noun

Synonyms

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3. licit, legitimate, sanctioned.

legal dictionary

noun
  1. a specialized dictionary covering terms used in the various branches of the legal profession, as civil law, criminal law, and corporate law. A comprehensive legal dictionary adds to its body of standard English entries many words and phrases that have made their way into modern legal practice from law French and Latin and are rarely found in a general English monolingual dictionary. Such a specialized dictionary is useful not only for law students and for attorneys themselves, but for members of the lay public who require legal services. Legal dictionaries published in print follow the normal practice of sorting entry terms alphabetically, while electronic dictionaries, such as the online Dictionary of Law on Dictionary.com, allow direct, immediate access to a search term.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for legal

legal

adjective
  1. established by or founded upon law; lawful
  2. of or relating to law
  3. recognized, enforceable, or having a remedy at law rather than in equity
  4. relating to or characteristic of the profession of law
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Derived Formslegally, adverb

Word Origin

C16: from Latin lēgālis, from lēx law
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 legal

adj.

mid-15c. "of or pertaining to the law," from Middle French légal or directly from Latin legalis "legal, pertaining to the law," from lex (genitive legis) "law," possibly related to legere "to gather," on notion of "a collection of rules" (see lecture (n.)).

Sense of "permitted by law" is from 1640s. Related: Legally. The Old French form was leial, loial (see leal, loyal). Legal tender is from 1740.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper