Definition of legal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈliːɡ(ə)l/


1 [attributive] Relating to the law: the European legal system
More example sentences
  • This was no doubt the expensive legal advice it was given.
  • Texas's public defence system which provides legal advice for those who can't afford it, is notorious for its abysmal standards.
  • He declined to name them but said he advised the officials to seek legal advice and to speak with their insurers.
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.
judicial, juridical, jurisdictive, judicatory, forensic
1.2 Law Recognized by common or statute 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.
1.3Relating 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?
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.
lawful, legitimate, licit, within the law, legalized, valid;
permissible, permitted, allowable, allowed, above board, admissible, acceptable;
authorized, sanctioned, warranted, licensed, official, enforceable, constitutional, statutory, statutable, ex cathedra, binding, bona fide, genuine;
right, proper, sound, just, fair, rightful, de jure, honest, upright
informal legit, kosher
3US Denoting a size of paper that measures 22 × 35.5 cm (8.5 × 14 inches): a yellow legal pad
More 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.


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

Words that rhyme with legal

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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: legal

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