Definition of legitimate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ləˈjidəmət/
1Conforming to the law or to rules: his claims to legitimate authority
More example sentences
  • They are laws because they are instructions given by a legitimate authority, not because they are backed up by force.
  • It would be outside the scope of legitimate judicial interpretation.
  • He says tenancy databases are an important and legitimate tool which help real estate agents carry out their job responsibly.
legal, lawful, licit, legalized, authorized, permitted, permissible, allowable, allowed, admissible, sanctioned, approved, licensed, statutory, constitutional
informal legit, street legal
1.1Able to be defended with logic or justification: a legitimate excuse for being late
More example sentences
  • Many of the arguments made thus far sound like excuses rather than legitimate reasons.
  • And since when does having a democracy excuse any country from legitimate, reasoned criticism?
  • Well, both factors play a role here, but they really serve as excuses more than legitimate reasons.
valid, sound, well founded, justifiable, reasonable, sensible, just, fair, bona fide
1.2(Of a child) born of parents lawfully married to each other.
Example sentences
  • From 1767 to 1772, four legitimate children were born.
  • Yet, parents thank the almighty for providing legitimate children to their girls.
  • So a British father of an illegitimate child born abroad is not recognised as a father for the purposes of Section 2 but a British mother is; so is a British father of a legitimate child born abroad.
1.3(Of a sovereign) having a title based on strict hereditary right: the last legitimate Anglo-Saxon king
More example sentences
  • William sent out news of his victory and invited the Saxon lords to recognize him as the legitimate king.
  • It had to be secured by purchase from the legitimate rulers of the tribes.
  • William wisely would not accept the throne until he was recognized as legitimate king by Parliament.
1.4Constituting or relating to serious drama as distinct from musical comedy, revue, etc. the legitimate theater
More example sentences
  • These theatres focused on legitimate drama and opera but halls providing popular stage entertainments also began to appear.
  • They think it's not legitimate theater, it's not reality.
  • Critics who claim opera is not legitimate theater must be silenced by the unforgettable performance that has been preserved here.


Pronunciation: /ləˈjidəmāt/
[with object]
Make legitimate; justify or make lawful: the regime was not legitimated by popular support
More example sentences
  • The rhetoric of rights legitimates claims and mobilizes support for groups demanding autonomy.
  • If the state thinks it is legitimate then it legitimates its own laws.
  • But she finds subtle shifts in the way governments legitimated their foreign policies.



Pronunciation: /ləˌjidəˈmāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • The effect was to confer a quite new level of political legitimation on Berlusconi.
  • On the contrary, even leftist commentators are lamenting its lack of legitimation.
  • What exactly are the mechanisms and institutions of legitimation?


Pronunciation: /ləˈjidəməˌtīz/
Example sentences
  • She says that for many students, exchange legitimatises traveling before they finish school.
  • The boy informs her that he is Sean reincarnated, and he drops a few tidbits intended to legitimatize his claim.
  • These two events had the effect of legitimatizing the Chicago mathematics department within one year of its opening.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'born of parents lawfully married to each other'): from medieval Latin legitimatus 'made legal', from the verb legitimare, from Latin legitimus 'lawful', from lex, leg- 'law'.

  • law from Old English:

    The words legacy (Late Middle English), legal (Late Middle English), legitimate (Late Middle English), and loyal (early 16th century) all descend from Latin lex ‘law’, the source also of law. The phrase law and order is found from the late 16th century. It was Charles Dickens who first said the law is an ass, or rather his character Mr Bumble did in Oliver Twist: ‘“If the law supposes that,” said Mr Bumble…“the law is a ass…a idiot.”’ See also jungle

Words that rhyme with legitimate


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: le·git·i·mate

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