[ adjective, noun li-jit-uh-mit; verb li-jit-uh-meyt ]
See synonyms for: legitimatelegitimatedlegitimateslegitimating on Thesaurus.com

  1. according to law; lawful: the property's legitimate owner.

  2. in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards.

  1. born in wedlock or of legally married parents: legitimate children.

  2. in accordance with the laws of reasoning; logically inferable; logical: a legitimate conclusion.

  3. resting on or ruling by the principle of hereditary right: a legitimate sovereign.

  4. not spurious or unjustified; genuine: It was a legitimate complaint.

  5. of the normal or regular type or kind.

  6. Theater. of or relating to professionally produced stage plays, as distinguished from burlesque, vaudeville, television, motion pictures, etc.: an actor in the legitimate theater.

verb (used with object),le·git·i·mat·ed, le·git·i·mat·ing.
  1. to make lawful or legal; pronounce or state as lawful: Parliament legitimated his accession to the throne.

  2. to establish as lawfully born: His bastard children were afterward legitimated by law.

  1. to show or declare to be legitimate or proper: He was under obligation to legitimate his commission.

  2. to justify; sanction or authorize: His behavior was legitimated by custom.

  1. the legitimate, the legitimate theater or drama.

  2. a person who is established as being legitimate.

Origin of legitimate

First recorded in 1485–95, legitimate is from the Medieval Latin word lēgitimātus (past participle of lēgitimāre to make lawful). See legitim, -ate1

Other words for legitimate

Opposites for legitimate

Other words from legitimate

  • le·git·i·mate·ly, adverb
  • le·git·i·mate·ness, noun
  • le·git·i·ma·tion, noun
  • de·le·git·i·mate, verb (used with object), de·le·git·i·mat·ed, de·le·git·i·mat·ing.
  • de·le·git·i·ma·tion, noun
  • non·le·git·i·mate, adjective
  • post·le·git·i·ma·tion, noun
  • qua·si-le·git·i·mate, adjective
  • qua·si-le·git·i·mate·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with legitimate

Words Nearby legitimate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use legitimate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for legitimate


  1. born in lawful wedlock; enjoying full filial rights

  2. conforming to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc

  1. based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning

  2. reasonable, sensible, or valid: a legitimate question

  3. authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law

  4. of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary right: a legitimate monarch

  5. of or relating to a body of famous long-established plays as distinct from films, television, vaudeville, etc: the legitimate theatre

  1. (tr) to make, pronounce, or show to be legitimate

Origin of legitimate

C15: from Medieval Latin lēgitimātus made legal, from lēx law

Derived forms of legitimate

  • legitimacy or legitimateness, noun
  • legitimately, adverb
  • legitimation, 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