Share this entry

Share this page

outlaw

Line breaks: out¦law
Pronunciation: /ˈaʊtlɔː
 
/

Definition of outlaw in English:

noun

1A person who has broken the law, especially one who remains at large or is a fugitive: bands of outlaws held up trains the outlaw Ned Kelly
More example sentences
  • Despite what romantic notions your kind has invented we are criminals, bandits and outlaws.
  • Whilst he is certainly an outlaw and bandit of historic proportions there is little or no connection with the notion of hereditary criminal tribes.
  • If you would accept our escort, we would guard you from bands of villainous outlaws.
Synonyms
fugitive, wanted criminal, outcast, exile, pariah, bandit, desperado, brigand, robber, criminal, black hat
informal villain
1.1 historical A person deprived of the benefit and protection of the law.
Example sentences
  • The Court was clearly concerned that the fact that the plaintiff was a burglar should not mean that he effectively became an outlaw, beyond the protection of the civil law.
  • I do not think that it could be said that a person in breach of some statutory duty or other prohibition thereupon becomes an outlaw, unable to enforce any of his rights against anyone.
  • They are too often treated as outlaws with no protections under the law.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Ban or make illegal: secondary picketing has been outlawed (as adjective outlawed) the outlawed terrorist group
More example sentences
  • The legislation is not there to tackle discriminatory treatment but to outlaw sex discrimination.
  • Not until then did most states outlaw common law marriage.
  • In effect, these measures outlaw political campaigns against arbitrary or illegal detentions.
Synonyms
banish, exile, cast out, exclude, expel, shut out;
repudiate, condemn, put a price on someone's head
1.1 historical Deprive (someone) of the benefit and protection of the law: he lost the estate in 1626, having been outlawed for non-payment of debts
More example sentences
  • He was outlawed, which meant that when he was arrested there was no need for a trial.

Origin

late Old English ūtlaga (noun), ūtlagian (verb), from Old Norse útlagi, noun from útlagr 'outlawed or banished'.

Derivatives

outlawry

1
noun
Example sentences
  • He admired outlaws when their outlawry was conducted with daring and intelligence.
  • After the war they spearheaded a broad, politically active peace movement that, however, promoted contending programs, including arms limitation, outlawry of war, and international organization.
  • Then, the movement depended upon moral outlawry to move its agenda forward.

Words that rhyme with outlaw

sister-in-lawby-law

Definition of outlaw in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day terpsichorean
Pronunciation: ˌtəːpsɪkəˈriːən
adjective
relating to dancing