Definition of illegal in English:

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Pronunciation: /i(l)ˈlēɡəl/


Contrary to or forbidden by law, especially criminal law: illegal drugs
More example sentences
  • The report also raises concerns over the efforts to tackle illegal drug use in prison.
  • If it cannot protect them from drugs then it should protect them from illegal drugs and gangsters.
  • English law makes illegal a contract to indemnify a person in respect of liability for fraud.
unlawful, illicit, illegitimate, criminal, felonious;
unlicensed, unauthorized, unsanctioned, warrantless;
fraudulent, corrupt;
outlawed, banned, forbidden, prohibited, proscribed, taboo;
contraband, black-market, bootleg;
Law  malfeasant
informal crooked, shady, sketchy


derogatory, chiefly North American
A person present in a country without official authorization.
Example sentences
  • Immigration officials say those illegals come from more than 100 countries.
  • Have a telephone tip line to report illegals to Immigration.
  • People who insist that all illegals be deported have an excellent point, and I think they're right.


Early 17th century: from French illégal or medieval Latin illegalis, from Latin in- 'not' + legalis 'according to the law'.

Words that rhyme with illegal

beagle, eagle, legal, paralegal, regal, spread eagle, viceregal

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: il·le·gal

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