1. a lawless person or habitual criminal, especially one who is a fugitive from the law.
  2. a person, group, or thing excluded from the benefits and protection of the law.
  3. a person under sentence of outlawry.
  4. a person who refuses to be governed by the established rules or practices of any group; rebel; nonconformist: one of the outlaws of country music.
  5. Chiefly Western U.S.
    1. a horse that cannot be broken; a mean, intractable horse.
    2. any rogue animal.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make unlawful or illegal: The Eighteenth Amendment outlawed the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating beverages in the U.S.
  2. to deprive of thebenefits and protection of the law: Members of guerrilla bands who refused to surrender were outlawed.
  3. to prohibit: to outlaw smoking in a theater.
  4. to remove from legal jurisdiction; deprive of legal force.


  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of an outlaw.


  1. (formerly) a person excluded from the law and deprived of its protection
  2. any fugitive from the law, esp a habitual transgressor
  3. a wild or untamed beast

verb (tr)

  1. to put (a person) outside the law and deprive of its protection
  2. (in the US) to deprive (a contract) of legal force
  3. to ban

v.Old English utlagian “to outlaw, banish,” from utlaga “an outlaw” (see outlaw (n.)). Related: Outlawed; outlawing. n.Old English utlaga “one put outside the law” (and thereby deprived of its benefits and protections), from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse utlagi (n.) “outlaw,” from utlagr (adj.) “outlawed, banished,” from ut “out” (see out (adv.)) + *lagu, plural of lag “law” (see law). [G]if he man to deaðe gefylle, beo he þonne utlah [“Laws of Edward & Guthrum,” c.924] Meaning “one living a lawless life” is first recorded 1880. As an adjective from Old English.

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