[adjective, noun li-jit-uh-mit; verb li-jit-uh-meyt]
See more synonyms for legitimate on Thesaurus.com
  1. according to law; lawful: the property's legitimate owner.
  2. in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards.
  3. born in wedlock or of legally married parents: legitimate children.
  4. in accordance with the laws of reasoning; logically inferable; logical: a legitimate conclusion.
  5. resting on or ruling by the principle of hereditary right: a legitimate sovereign.
  6. not spurious or unjustified; genuine: It was a legitimate complaint.
  7. of the normal or regular type or kind.
  8. 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.
  3. to show or declare to be legitimate or proper: He was under obligation to legitimate his commission.
  4. 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
Related formsle·git·i·mate·ly, adverble·git·i·mate·ness, nounle·git·i·ma·tion, nounde·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, nounnon·le·git·i·mate, adjectivepost·le·git·i·ma·tion, nounqua·si-le·git·i·mate, adjectivequa·si-le·git·i·mate·ly, adverb
Can be confusedlegitimate legitimize

Synonyms for legitimate

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. legal, licit. 2. sanctioned. 4. valid. 9. legalize.

Antonyms for legitimate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for legitimately

Contemporary Examples of legitimately

Historical Examples of legitimately

  • The only direction of inquiry is how they can be legitimately minimized.

    Herbert Hoover

    Vernon Kellogg

  • Because I am in possession of rich ore, it does not follow that I did not come by it legitimately.

    The Highgrader

    William MacLeod Raine

  • As a matter of fact, the road was not yet legitimately dark.

    The Napoleon of Notting Hill

    Gilbert K. Chesterton

  • The field is legitimately open to speculation where all agree that all is hopeless.

    Lord George Bentinck

    Benjamin Disraeli

  • Whatever credit is due to Young for securing it, is legitimately his.

    The Story of the Mormons

    William Alexander Linn

British Dictionary definitions for legitimately


adjective (lɪˈdʒɪtɪmɪt)
  1. born in lawful wedlock; enjoying full filial rights
  2. conforming to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc
  3. based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning
  4. reasonable, sensible, or valida legitimate question
  5. authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law
  6. of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary righta legitimate monarch
  7. of or relating to a body of famous long-established plays as distinct from films, television, vaudeville, etcthe legitimate theatre
verb (lɪˈdʒɪtɪˌmeɪt)
  1. (tr) to make, pronounce, or show to be legitimate
Derived Formslegitimacy or legitimateness, nounlegitimately, adverblegitimation, noun

Word Origin for legitimate

C15: from Medieval Latin lēgitimātus made legal, 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 legitimately



1590s, from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare (see legitimate (adj.)). Related: Legitimated; legitimating.



mid-15c., "lawfully begotten," from Middle French legitimer and directly from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare "make lawful, declare to be lawful," from Latin legitimus "lawful," originally "fixed by law, in line with the law," from lex (genitive legis) "law" (see legal). Transferred sense of "genuine, real" is attested from 1550s. Related: Legitimately.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper