from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being in compliance with the law; lawful: a legitimate business.
  • adj. Being in accordance with established or accepted patterns and standards: legitimate advertising practices.
  • adj. Based on logical reasoning; reasonable: a legitimate solution to the problem.
  • adj. Authentic; genuine: a legitimate complaint.
  • adj. Born of legally married parents: legitimate issue.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary right: a legitimate monarch.
  • adj. Of or relating to drama of high professional quality that excludes burlesque, vaudeville, and some forms of musical comedy: the legitimate theater.
  • transitive v. To make legitimate, as:
  • transitive v. To give legal force or status to; make lawful.
  • transitive v. To establish (a child born out of wedlock) as legitimate by legal means.
  • transitive v. To sanction formally or officially; authorize.
  • transitive v. To demonstrate or declare to be justified.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. In accordance with the law or established legal forms and requirements; lawful.
  • adj. Conforming to known principles, or established or accepted rules or standards; valid.
  • adj. Authentic, real, genuine.
  • adj. Lawfully begotten, i.e., born to a legally married couple.
  • adj. Relating to hereditary rights.
  • v. To make legitimate, lawful, or valid; especially, to put in the position or state of a legitimate person before the law, by legal means.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Accordant with law or with established legal forms and requirements; lawful
  • adj. Lawfully begotten; born in wedlock.
  • adj. Authorized; real; genuine; not false, counterfe`t, or spurious
  • adj. Conforming to known principles, or accepted rules
  • adj. Following by logical sequence; reasonable
  • transitive v. To make legitimate, lawful, or valid; esp., to put in the position or state of a legitimate person before the law, by legal means.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make lawful; establish the legitimacy or propriety of.
  • To render legitimate, as a bastard; invest with the rights of a legitimate child or lawful heir, as one born out of wedlock.
  • According to law, rule, or precedent; agreeable to established principles or standards; in conformity with custom or usage; lawful; regular; orderly; proper: as, a legitimate king or government; the legitimate drama; a legitimate subject of debate; legitimate trade.
  • Specifically Of lawful birth; born in wedlock, or of parents legally married: as, legitimate children; a legitimate heir.
  • Justly based on the premises; logically correct, allowable, or valid: as, a legitimate result; legitimate arguments or conclusion.
  • Synonyms Legal, Licit, etc. See lawful.
  • n. By ellipsis, legitimate drama (which see, under legitimate).
  • n. An emigrant to Australia who had ‘legal reasons’ for emigrating.
  • n. A legitimate child.
  • n. Something to which one has a legal right. Milton, Eikon., 31.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. show or affirm to be just and legitimate
  • adj. authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law
  • v. make (an illegitimate child) legitimate; declare the legitimacy of (someone)
  • adj. of marriages and offspring; recognized as lawful
  • v. make legal
  • adj. based on known statements or events or conditions
  • adj. in accordance with recognized or accepted standards or principles


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.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare ‘to make legal’. (Wiktionary)


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