• synonyms


verb (used without object), leg·is·lat·ed, leg·is·lat·ing.
  1. to exercise the function of legislation; make or enact laws.
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verb (used with object), leg·is·lat·ed, leg·is·lat·ing.
  1. to create, provide, or control by legislation: attempts to legislate morality.
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Origin of legislate

First recorded in 1710–20; back formation from legislation, legislator
Related formso·ver·leg·is·late, verb, o·ver·leg·is·lat·ed, o·ver·leg·is·lat·ing.qua·si-leg·is·lat·ed, adjectiveun·leg·is·lat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

enact, constitute, pass

Examples from the Web for legislates

Historical Examples

  • In a democracy, every one legislates, and every one legislates for his own interests.

    Diary in America, Series Two

    Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

  • Rhode Island legislates to restrict slavery in the Province.

  • Hence, let its meaning be what it may, it legislates nothing for or against slavery.

    A Defence of Virginia

    Robert L. Dabney

  • In times of emergency, she steps to the front and legislates, judges, or fights.

  • It legislates, consciously or otherwise, more for accumulated wealth, than for the laboring man who now accumulates.

British Dictionary definitions for legislates


  1. (intr) to make or pass laws
  2. (tr) to bring into effect by legislation
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Word Origin

C18: back formation from legislator
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 legislates



1805, back-formation from legislation, etc. Related: Legislated; legislating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper