Definition of illegitimate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌɪlɪˈdʒɪtɪmət/


1Not authorized by the law; not in accordance with accepted standards or rules: defending workers against illegitimate managerial practices
More example sentences
  • Denying one group their rightful possession of property, acquired according to these rules, was the illegitimate exercise of government powers and was unjust.
  • In any event, the exclusion of them from the balancing exercise is likewise illegitimate.
  • Sexual harassment in the workplace is an illegitimate exercise of power.
2(Of a child) born of parents not lawfully married to each other.
Example sentences
  • Manapat said Poe was born as the illegitimate child of an already married Spanish father and an American mother, and thus should have acquired the citizenship of his mother under Philippine law.
  • Between 1949 and 1956, approximately 2,700 so-called illegitimate children were born there.
  • He writes that his first experience of the police came through his unruly boyhood and that he is the father of an illegitimate child, born while he was a military police officer in South Korea.
born out of wedlock, born of unmarried parents;
archaic bastard, natural, misbegotten, baseborn, spurious, nameless
rare adulterine


A person who is illegitimate by birth.
Example sentences
  • A woman responding to a survey about the experience of illegitimates in 1986 said that her mother ‘was put in an orphanage and did not get full knowledge about her parents until she was 55.’
  • Indeed, illegitimates claimed employment discrimination in the 1920s and 1930s; one woman, born early in the century, could not get a job as a nurse during the 1920s because her birth certificate showed she had no father.
  • The legal position and disabilities of illegitimates remained largely unchanged until late in the 20th century, unaffected by the family law reforms of the 1920s and the general loosening of standards during the two world wars.



Pronunciation: /ɪlɪˈdʒɪtɪmətli/
Example sentences
  • They have routinely violated norms of political conduct, smothered information necessary for informed public debate, and illegitimately exploited government power to perpetuate their rule.
  • Or it could be personal vanity; the desire to illegitimately insert one's own, otherwise unknown name, as the ‘editor’ of the works of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • We hear that the areas around Lockerbie Scrub at the tip of Cape York, and Iron Range near the Lockhart River, have been heavily collected both legitimately and illegitimately in the last few years.


Mid 16th century: from late Latin illegitimus (from in- 'not' + legitimus 'lawful'), suggested by legitimate.

Words that rhyme with illegitimate


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: il¦legit¦im|ate

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