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

  • adj. Against the law; illegal.
  • adj. Born out of wedlock.
  • adj. Grammar Not in correct usage.
  • adj. Incorrectly deduced; illogical.
  • adj. Biology Unacceptable as a scientific name because of contradiction to the international rules of nomenclature.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Illegal; against the law.
  • adj. Born to unmarried parents.
  • adj. Illogical; incorrectly deduced.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not according to law; not regular or authorized; unlawful; improper.
  • adj. Unlawfully begotten; born out of wedlock; bastard.
  • adj. Not legitimately deduced or inferred; illogical.
  • adj. Not authorized by good usage; not genuine; spurious.
  • transitive v. To render illegitimate; to declare or prove to be born out of wedlock; to bastardize; to illegitimatize.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not legitimate.
  • Not logically inferred or deduced; not warranted; illogical: as, an illegitimate inference.
  • Unlawfully begotten; born out of wedlock; bastard: as, an illegitimate child. See legitimate.
  • In botany, produced by irregular or abnormal fertilization. See phrase below.
  • To render or prove illegitimate; attaint as having been born out of wedlock; bastardize.
  • n. An emigrant who has come of his own volition and has not had ‘legal reasons’ for his voyage. See legitimate, n., 2.

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

  • n. the illegitimate offspring of unmarried parents
  • adj. of marriages and offspring; not recognized as lawful
  • adj. contrary to or forbidden by law


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • I do have to say I dislike the term illegitimate when talking about children.

    The Reemergence of Marriage in the US

  • All this will involve many a shock to prudery; to take only the instance of what we call illegitimate motherhood, our eyes askance must learn that there are other legitimacies and illegitimacies than those which depend upon the little laws of men, and that if our doctrine of the worth of parenthood be a right one it is our business in every such case to say, "Here also, then, in so far as it lies in our power, we must make motherhood as good and perfect as may be."

    Woman and Womanhood A Search for Principles

  • As unpopular as this abomonation is (for the $500 billion tax hikes, $500 Medicare cuts and dubious constitutionality on the substance), just imagine the chaos that will reign if a large segment of the population views ObamaCare as illegitimate from a process standpoint.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » “It May Be Clever, but It Is Not Constitutional”

  • [O] n a visceral level, to watch him chortling as he calls Obama illegitimate is just gross and offensive.

    Labor Politics (Blog for Democracy)

  • The question you should be asking liberals is "What functions of government do you define as illegitimate?"

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • The progress made by educated women in getting women's voices a hearing means changing options for all women and their kids (example: the word illegitimate has left the building).

    Elizabeth Gregory: Halle, Baby! Cate, Baby!: Scripting the New Later Motherhood

  • They treated Shays Rebellion as in illegitimate revolt to be suppressed.


  • The only recent "conservative" decision I'm entirely comfortable calling illegitimate is Adarand (or Gratz -- basically, strict scrutiny for affirmative action).

    Is That Legal?: Okay, Not Black, Then

  • The reason that I don't find them illegitimate is probably that as a general matter, I think that political weakness on the part of a burdened group is a factor suggesting less deference, so judicial interventions on behalf of politically weak groups generally get counted as legitimate.

    Is That Legal?: Okay, Not Black, Then

  • The issue of laying claim to another culture's religion when you, as an outsider, have no right to do so and members of that other culture consider your act self-serving, shallow and illegitimate is one thing.

    More on Cultural Appropriation


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