[ lee-guhl ]
See synonyms for: legallegally on

  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.

  1. appointed, established, or authorized by law; deriving authority from law.

  2. recognized by law rather than by equity.

  3. of, relating to, or characteristic of the profession of law or of lawyers: a legal mind.

  4. Theology.

    • of or relating to the Mosaic Law.

    • of or relating to the doctrine that salvation is gained by good works rather than through free grace.

  1. a person who acts in a legal manner or with legal authority.

  2. Usually legals . a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country legally.

  1. a person whose status is protected by law.

  2. a fish or game animal, within specified size or weight limitations, that the law allows to be caught and kept during an appropriate season.

  3. a foreigner who conducts espionage against a host country while working there in a legitimate capacity, often in the diplomatic service.

  4. legals, authorized investments that may be made by fiduciaries, as savings banks or trustees.

Origin of legal

First recorded in 1490–1500; from Latin lēgālis “of the law,” equivalent to lēg- (stem of lēx ) “law” + -ālis adjective suffix; see -al1

Other words for legal

Other words from legal

  • le·gal·ly, adverb
  • post·le·gal, adjective
  • pre·le·gal, adjective
  • pseu·do·le·gal, adjective
  • quasi-legal, adjective
  • qua·si-le·gal·ly, adverb
  • un·le·gal, adjective
  • un·le·gal·ly, adverb
  • un·le·gal·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use legal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for legal


/ (ˈliːɡəl) /

  1. established by or founded upon law; lawful

  2. of or relating to law

  1. recognized, enforceable, or having a remedy at law rather than in equity

  2. relating to or characteristic of the profession of law

Origin of legal

C16: from Latin lēgālis, from lēx law

Derived forms of legal

  • legally, adverb

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