Definition of illicit in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈlɪsɪt/


Forbidden by law, rules, or custom: illicit drugs illicit sex
More example sentences
  • Drugs are illegal and illicit because they do incredible harm and no good whatsoever.
  • There is a history of illicit drug use while in hospital which had some associations with the symptoms of his illness.
  • Pubs, clubs and people's homes were still the most common places for bootleggers to sell illicit goods.
illegal, unlawful, illegitimate, against the law;
outlawed, banned, forbidden, prohibited, interdicted, proscribed, not allowed, not permitted;
criminal, lawbreaking, actionable, felonious;
unlicensed, unauthorized, unsanctioned, unwarranted, unofficial;
contraband, black-market, under the counter, bootleg;
Law  malfeasant;
German verboten
rare non licet
taboo, forbidden, ruled out, impermissible, not acceptable, unacceptable, against the rules;
secret, clandestine, furtive, sly;
German verboten;
Islam  haram;
New Zealand  tapu


On the distinctions between illicit, illegal, and unlawful, see illegal (usage).



Pronunciation: /ɪˈlɪsɪtli/
Example sentences
  • The United States emerged as the world's industrial leader by illicitly appropriating mechanical and scientific innovations from Europe.
  • Their evidence was very strong as to the suspicious movement of what in general may have looked like illicitly obtained money.
  • She remained there illicitly for some months before managing to leave China so as to make her way to this country.


Example sentences
  • How strong was your sense of its illicitness, the illicitness of this love?
  • We're getting a kick from the illicitness, the donning of scarf and dark glasses and sneaking off for a day's shopping.
  • While Sam seems to enjoy the illicitness of his desire for Marion, his feelings are not truly transgressive.


Early 16th century: from French, or from Latin illicitus, from in- 'not' + licitus (see licit).

Words that rhyme with illicit

complicit, elicit, explicit, implicit, licit, solicit

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: il|licit

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