1. according to law; lawful: the property’s legitimate owner.
  2. in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards.
  3. born in wedlock or of legally married parents: legitimate children.
  4. in accordance with the laws of reasoning; logically inferable; logical: a legitimate conclusion.
  5. resting on or ruling by the principle of hereditary right: a legitimate sovereign.
  6. not spurious or unjustified; genuine: It was a legitimate complaint.
  7. of the normal or regular type or kind.
  8. Theater. of or relating to professionally produced stage plays, as distinguished from burlesque, vaudeville, television, motion pictures, etc.: an actor in the legitimate theater.

verb (used with object), le·git·i·mat·ed, le·git·i·mat·ing.

  1. to make lawful or legal; pronounce or state as lawful: Parliament legitimated his accession to the throne.
  2. to establish as lawfully born: His bastard children were afterward legitimated by law.
  3. to show or declare to be legitimate or proper: He was under obligation to legitimate his commission.
  4. to justify; sanction or authorize: His behavior was legitimated by custom.


  1. the legitimate, the legitimate theater or drama.
  2. a person who is established as being legitimate.

adjective (lɪˈdʒɪtɪmɪt)

  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 valida legitimate question
  5. authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law
  6. of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary righta legitimate monarch
  7. of or relating to a body of famous long-established plays as distinct from films, television, vaudeville, etcthe legitimate theatre

verb (lɪˈdʒɪtɪˌmeɪt)

  1. (tr) to make, pronounce, or show to be legitimate

1590s, from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare (see legitimate (adj.)). Related: Legitimated; legitimating.


mid-15c., “lawfully begotten,” from Middle French legitimer and directly from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare “make lawful, declare to be lawful,” from Latin legitimus “lawful,” originally “fixed by law, in line with the law,” from lex (genitive legis) “law” (see legal). Transferred sense of “genuine, real” is attested from 1550s. Related: Legitimately.

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