Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.


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 legitimize.

[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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


a person who makes something legitimate
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
acting on behalf of the electorate as its legitimator of power, while
The first mode, inspiration and legitimation, takes place when international treaties, or domestic laws of third countries serve as an inspiration or legitimator for the reformulation of domestic laws and institutional practices.
Yet Sadr's egocentric antics -- constantly portraying himself as the legitimator of governments and claiming in March to be subject to death threats for pushing reform -- has isolated him among the political class.
(46) To survive in Cambodia, the ICC has thus been condemned to serve as an official legitimator for the power in place and its shadowy state practices.
Traian Ungureanu (MEP), as an expert authority, positioned himself both as a legitimator and as a delegitimator of this issue.
Csicsery-Ronay says, "Recovering the cyborg from [its] role as ideological legitimator (for conservative humanists and naive technophiles both), Haraway attempts to clear a new path for utopian rationality through the sprawl of instrumental rationalization" (404).
In a suffragette context, then, the monument itself, and the illustrations of it, are salient examples of the power of 'invented traditions,' as 'all invented traditions, so far as possible, use history as a legitimator of action and cement of group cohesion.' (Hobsbawn 12) As a means by which the demands of the militants were conveyed, artwork such as these reflect and reiterate the ritualistic potency of the marches, communicating in illustrative format, what Taylor and Whittier refer to as 'the redefinition of feeling and expression rules that apply to women.' (178)
Even the alleged impact of Haushofer's efforts as legitimator and apologist must be carefully scrutinized, however.
(14) Compare, for example, Tambiah's claim that '[...] the canonical conception of first kingship acted as a charter and legitimator of legal systems and social practices of three major Buddhist societies of South and Southeast Asia--Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand'.