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legal Syllabification: le·gal
Pronunciation: /ˈlēɡəl/

Definition of legal in English:


1 [attributive] Of, based on, or concerned with the law: the American legal system
More example sentences
  • Indeed it is good for the legal system to acquit the innocent and convict the guilty.
  • It used to be impossible to prove that the legal system produces wrongful convictions.
  • He says the legal system is becoming increasingly concerned with political life.
1.1Appointed or required by the law: a legal requirement
More example sentences
  • The other vehicles in its fleet do not meet the legal requirements and in effect should not be allowed on the road.
  • Complaints requiring legal action will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice.
  • Oh sure, it's a legal requirement for someone such as me who is a contractor.
1.2Of or relating to theological legalism.
Example sentences
  • The Torah comprises the first five books and contains a mixture of narratives and legal texts.
  • Is is legal to work by healing on the Sabbath day?
1.3 Law Recognized by common or statutory law, as distinct from equity.
Example sentences
  • 26 Women were more likely to turn to equity courts than common law ones for legal resolution.
  • It's crazy to argue that we're ever going to get significant legal change from common law courts.
  • Certainly, the appellant does not bear any moral, as distinct from legal, responsibility for what occurred.
1.4US (Of paper) measuring 8 ½ by 14 inches.
Example sentences
  • When he saw something of note, he scrawled it on a folded up piece of yellow legal paper he kept in his coat pocket.
  • Sudler handed Mr Cool a sheet of yellow legal paper and sauntered out.
  • The deed was on posh legal paper.
2Permitted by law: he claimed that it had all been legal
More example sentences
  • In other words, the big killers in Scotland are the legal drugs - tobacco and alcohol.
  • Alcohol is, of course, a legal and socially acceptable drug, even though it may actually be more harmful to the body than some of the illegal drugs.
  • By far the most dangerous drugs are legal, with alcohol and tobacco, accounting for 150,000 deaths every year.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'to do with Mosaic law'): from French, or from Latin legalis, from lex, leg- 'law'. Compare with loyal.



[sentence adverb]: legally, we’re still very much married
More example sentences
  • In Victorian times she would legally have had to follow me home, as she would have been my property.
  • When someone disappears you have to wait seven years before legally they can be declared dead.
  • He said the bar often employed four or more doormen every night, more than legally required.

Words that rhyme with legal

beagle, eagle, illegal, paralegal, regal, spread eagle, viceregal

Definition of legal in:

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Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive