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a. Being in compliance with the law; lawful: a legitimate business.
b. Being in accordance with established or accepted rules and standards: legitimate advertising practices.
c. Valid or justifiable: a legitimate complaint.
d. Based on logical reasoning: a legitimate deduction.
2. Born of legally married parents: legitimate offspring.
3. Of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary right: a legitimate monarch.
4. Of or relating to drama of high professional quality that excludes burlesque, vaudeville, and some forms of musical comedy: the legitimate theater.
tr.v. (-māt′) le·git·i·mat·ed, le·git·i·mat·ing, le·git·i·mates
To make legitimate, as:
a. To give legal force or status to; make lawful.
b. To sanction formally or officially; authorize.
c. To demonstrate or declare to be justified.

[Middle English legitimat, born in wedlock, from Medieval Latin lēgitimātus, law-worthy, past participle of lēgitimāre, to make lawful, from Latin lēgitimus, legitimate, from lēx, lēg-, law; see leg- in Indo-European roots.]

le·git′i·mate·ly adv.
le·git′i·mate·ness n.
le·git′i·ma′tion n.
le·git′i·mat′or (-māt′ər) n.


1. born in lawful wedlock; enjoying full filial rights
2. conforming to established standards of usage, behaviour, etc
3. based on correct or acceptable principles of reasoning
4. reasonable, sensible, or valid: a legitimate question.
5. (Law) authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law
6. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary right: a legitimate monarch.
7. (Theatre) of or relating to a body of famous long-established plays as distinct from films, television, vaudeville, etc: the legitimate theatre.
(tr) to make, pronounce, or show to be legitimate
[C15: from Medieval Latin lēgitimātus made legal, from lēx law]
leˈgitimacy, leˈgitimateness n
leˈgitimately adv
leˌgitiˈmation n


(adj., n. lɪˈdʒɪt ə mɪt; v. -ˌmeɪt)

adj., v. -mat•ed, -mat•ing,
n. adj.
1. according to law; lawful: the property's legitimate owner.
2. in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards.
3. born of legally married parents: legitimate children.
4. in accordance with the laws of reasoning; valid; logical: a legitimate conclusion.
5. resting on or ruling by the principle of hereditary right: a legitimate sovereign.
6. justified; genuine: a legitimate complaint.
7. of the normal or regular type or kind.
8. of or pertaining to professionally produced stage plays, as distinguished from burlesque, vaudeville, etc.
9. to make lawful or legal; pronounce as lawful: Parliament legitimated her accession to the throne.
10. to confer legitimacy upon (a bastard).
11. to show or declare to be legitimate or proper.
12. to justify; sanction or authorize.
13. a person who is established as being legitimate.
[1485–95; < Medieval Latin lēgitimātus, past participle of lēgitimāre to make lawful, derivative of Latin lēgitimus lawful, legal <lēg-, s. of lēx law]
le•git′i•mate•ly, adv.
le•git′i•mate•ness, n.


1. 'legal' and 'lawful'

Legal and lawful both mean 'allowed by law'. Lawful is a formal word.

A breath test showed he had drunk more than twice the legal limit for driving.
Capital punishment is legal in many countries.
Hunting is a lawful activity.
All his activities had been perfectly lawful.
2. 'legitimate'

Legitimate means 'correct or acceptable according to a law or rule'.

...a legitimate business transaction.

Legitimate can also mean 'justifiable under the circumstances'.

Religious leaders have a legitimate reason to be concerned.

If someone is legitimate, their parents were married at the time they were born.

...evidence that he was his father's legitimate son.
3. another meaning of 'legal'

Legal also means 'relating to the law'. You cannot use lawful or legitimate with this meaning.

...the British legal system.
...legal language.
4. 'law' in front of nouns

You use law, not 'legal', in front of a noun when you are talking about someone or something connected with the study of law.

...a law student.
He had only just received his law degree.

Law also appears in the names of some places and institutions connected with the law.

...the Law Courts.
...the Law Society.


Past participle: legitimated
Gerund: legitimating

I legitimate
you legitimate
he/she/it legitimates
we legitimate
you legitimate
they legitimate
I legitimated
you legitimated
he/she/it legitimated
we legitimated
you legitimated
they legitimated
Present Continuous
I am legitimating
you are legitimating
he/she/it is legitimating
we are legitimating
you are legitimating
they are legitimating
Present Perfect
I have legitimated
you have legitimated
he/she/it has legitimated
we have legitimated
you have legitimated
they have legitimated
Past Continuous
I was legitimating
you were legitimating
he/she/it was legitimating
we were legitimating
you were legitimating
they were legitimating
Past Perfect
I had legitimated
you had legitimated
he/she/it had legitimated
we had legitimated
you had legitimated
they had legitimated
I will legitimate
you will legitimate
he/she/it will legitimate
we will legitimate
you will legitimate
they will legitimate
Future Perfect
I will have legitimated
you will have legitimated
he/she/it will have legitimated
we will have legitimated
you will have legitimated
they will have legitimated
Future Continuous
I will be legitimating
you will be legitimating
he/she/it will be legitimating
we will be legitimating
you will be legitimating
they will be legitimating
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been legitimating
you have been legitimating
he/she/it has been legitimating
we have been legitimating
you have been legitimating
they have been legitimating
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been legitimating
you will have been legitimating
he/she/it will have been legitimating
we will have been legitimating
you will have been legitimating
they will have been legitimating
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been legitimating
you had been legitimating
he/she/it had been legitimating
we had been legitimating
you had been legitimating
they had been legitimating
I would legitimate
you would legitimate
he/she/it would legitimate
we would legitimate
you would legitimate
they would legitimate
Past Conditional
I would have legitimated
you would have legitimated
he/she/it would have legitimated
we would have legitimated
you would have legitimated
they would have legitimated
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Verb1.legitimate - make legal; "Marijuana should be legalized"
countenance, permit, allow, let - consent to, give permission; "She permitted her son to visit her estranged husband"; "I won't let the police search her basement"; "I cannot allow you to see your exam"
monetise, monetize - give legal value to or establish as the legal tender of a country; "They monetized the lira"
2.legitimate - show or affirm to be just and legitimate
vindicate, justify - show to be right by providing justification or proof; "vindicate a claim"
3.legitimate - make (an illegitimate child) legitimate; declare the legitimacy of (someone); "They legitimized their natural child"
alter, change, modify - cause to change; make different; cause a transformation; "The advent of the automobile may have altered the growth pattern of the city"; "The discussion has changed my thinking about the issue"
Adj.1.legitimate - of marriages and offspring; recognized as lawful
authorised, authorized - endowed with authority
legal - established by or founded upon law or official or accepted rules
valid - well grounded in logic or truth or having legal force; "a valid inference"; "a valid argument"; "a valid contract"
illegitimate - of marriages and offspring; not recognized as lawful
2.legitimate - based on known statements or events or conditions; "rain was a logical expectation, given the time of year"
valid - well grounded in logic or truth or having legal force; "a valid inference"; "a valid argument"; "a valid contract"
3.legitimate - in accordance with recognized or accepted standards or principles; "legitimate advertising practices"
constituted, established - brought about or set up or accepted; especially long established; "the established social order"; "distrust the constituted authority"; "a team established as a member of a major league"; "enjoyed his prestige as an established writer"; "an established precedent"; "the established Church"
4.legitimate - authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law; "a legitimate government"
legal - established by or founded upon law or official or accepted rules


1. lawful, real, true, legal, acknowledged, sanctioned, genuine, proper, authentic, statutory, authorized, rightful, kosher (informal), dinkum (Austral & N.Z. informal), legit (slang), licit They have demanded the restoration of the legitimate government.
lawful illegal, false, unlawful, fraudulent, illegitimate
1. legitimize, allow, permit, sanction, authorize, legalize, give the green light to, legitimatize, pronounce lawful We want to legitimate this process by passing a law.


1. Within, allowed by, or sanctioned by the law:
Slang: legit.
2. Being so legitimately:
To make lawful:
paremtas įstatymais
laulībā dzimislikumīgs


1. (= lawful) [government, right, power] → legítimo; [business] → legal
he has a legitimate claim to the propertytiene el derecho legítimo de reivindicar la propiedad
2. (= valid) [reason, argument, target] → válido; [complaint, conclusion] → justificado; [interest] → legítimo
it is perfectly legitimate to ask questionspreguntar está perfectamente justificado
3. (Jur) [son, daughter] → legítimo
B. VT = legitimize


[lɪˈdʒɪtəmət] adj
(= accepted by law) [government, organization] → légitime
(= well-founded, valid) [feeling, fear] → légitime; [claim, complaint, reason] → légitime; [target] → légitime
to have a legitimate claim to sth → pouvoir légitimement prétendre à qch
They have legitimate claims to political asylum → Ils peuvent légitimement prétendre à l'asile politique.
(= born in wedlock) [child] → légitime


(= lawful)rechtmäßig, legitim; rights, claimlegitim
(= reasonable)berechtigt; excusebegründet; reasonzulässig; target, purposelegitim; his use of the company car was not legitimateer war nicht berechtigt, den Firmenwagen zu benutzen; it’s perfectly legitimate to ask questionses ist vollkommen in Ordnung, Fragen zu stellen; it’s legitimate for them to behave like thatsie dürfen sich so benehmen
(= born in wedlock)ehelich
(Theat) the legitimate theatredas traditionelle Sprechtheater


[lɪˈdʒɪtɪmɪt] adj (lawful) → legittimo/a; (argument, cause, excuse) → buono/a, valido/a; (complaint) → legittimo/a; (conclusion) → logico/a


(liˈdʒitimət) adjective
1. lawful. Is this procedure perfectly legitimate?
2. (of a child) born to parents who are married to each other.
leˈgitimately adverb
leˈgitimacy noun


a. legítimo-a, auténtico-a.
References in classic literature ?
Nor was the Doctor happier in his selection, when he told the old, ever new and curious story of the waning of a woman's love, seeking strange, new channels, only to return to its legitimate source after days of fierce unrest.
He might truly be termed a legitimate son of the revenue system, dyed in the wool, or rather born in the purple; since his sire, a Revolutionary colonel, and formerly collector of the port, had created an office for him, and appointed him to fill it, at a period of the early ages which few living men can now remember.
I couldn't have felt really and satisfactorily fine and proud and set-up over any title except one that should come from the nation itself, the only legitimate source; and such an one I hoped to win; and in the course of years of honest and honorable endeavor, I did win it and did wear it with a high and clean pride.
This is a legitimate result of habit and education.
He was moved to capture the skiff, arguing that it might be considered a ship and therefore legitimate prey for a pirate, but he knew a thorough search would be made for it and that might end in revelations.
This we did by begging and stealing, whichever came handy in the time of need, the one being considered as legitimate as the other.
This is legitimate, et j'y tiens, as Adele would say; and it is by virtue of this superiority, and this alone, that I desire you to have the goodness to talk to me a little now, and divert my thoughts, which are galled with dwelling on one point--cankering as a rusty nail.
Catherine's library was select, and its state of dilapidation proved it to have been well used, though not altogether for a legitimate purpose: scarcely one chapter had escaped, a pen-and-ink commentary - at least the appearance of one - covering every morsel of blank that the printer had left.
On the child's death -- if it had only outlived the mother by a few seconds, instead of a few hours, the result would have been the same -- the next of kin to the legitimate offspring took the money; and that next of kin is the infant's paternal uncle, Michael Vanstone.
Under the temporary pressure of pecuniary liabilities, contracted with a view to their immediate liquidation, but remaining unliquidated through a combination of circumstances, I have been under the necessity of assuming a garb from which my natural instincts recoil - I allude to spectacles - and possessing myself of a cognomen, to which I can establish no legitimate pretensions.
With my head full of George Barnwell, I was at first disposed to believe that I must have had some hand in the attack upon my sister, or at all events that as her near relation, popularly known to be under obligations to her, I was a more legitimate object of suspicion than any one else.
The only legitimate attachment to print stuff, I was told, was to print stuff in the form of blouse, tennis, or boating costume.