English Dictionary

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  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 valid   ⇒  ■ a legitimate question
  5. authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law
  6. of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary right   ⇒  ■ a legitimate monarch
  7. of or relating to a body of famous long-established plays as distinct from films, television, vaudeville, etc   ⇒  ■ the legitimate theatre



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

Derived Forms

leˈgitimacy, or leˈgitimateness  noun
leˈgitimately  adverb
leˌgitiˈmation  noun

Word Origin

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


View thesaurus entry
= lawful, real, true, legal, acknowledged, sanctioned, genuine, proper, authentic, statutory, authorized, rightful, kosher (informal), dinkum (Australian) ( & New Zealand) (informal), legit (slang), licit
= legitimize, allow, permit, sanction, authorize, legalize, give the green light to, legitimatize, pronounce lawful

Translations for 'legitimate'

  • British English: legitimate Something that is legitimate is acceptable according to the law. ADJECTIVEThey have condemned the coup and demanded the restoration of the legitimate government.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: legítimo
  • Chinese: 合法的
  • European Spanish: legítimo legítima
  • French: légitime
  • German: rechtmäßig
  • Italian: legittimo legittima
  • Japanese: 合法の
  • Korean: 합법적인
  • Portuguese: legítimo legítima
  • Spanish: legítimo legítima

Example Sentences Including 'legitimate'

So he's got an apparently legitimate source for living very high on the hog.
His own David had been killed in a legitimate war, a soldier fighting for his country.
Harcourt, Palma A Matter of Conscience
More recently, the Mafia had developed a legitimate claim on him.
Mark Burnell CHAMELEON (2002)


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