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[ih-lis-it] /ɪˈlɪs ɪt/
not legally permitted or authorized; unlicensed; unlawful.
disapproved of or not permitted for moral or ethical reasons.
Origin of illicit
1645-55; < Latin illicitus. See il-2, licit
Related forms
illicitly, adverb
illicitness, noun
Can be confused
elicit, illicit.
illegal, illicit (see synonym study at illegal)
1. illegitimate, prohibited. See illegal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for illicitly
  • He's illicitly brought in machine parts from military and aerospace industries.
  • Most club officials either made their money illicitly or relied on white investors or owners.
  • The better copies are shot illicitly with cameras placed on tripods in the projection booth.
  • Once brawny muscles have been acquired, whether licitly or illicitly, other genes might then be used to tune their activity.
  • Many of the new plantations, as well as illicitly winning subsidies, have been planted where forests have been illegally cleared.
  • It is also impossible to know the amount of drugs that are manufactured illicitly in domestic or foreign laboratories.
British Dictionary definitions for illicitly


another word for illegal
not allowed or approved by common custom, rule, or standard: illicit sexual relations
Derived Forms
illicitly, adverb
illicitness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for illicitly



c.1500, from Old French illicite (14c.) "unlawful, forbidden," from Latin illicitus "not allowed, unlawful, illegal," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + licitus "lawful," past participle of licere "to be allowed" (see licence). Related: Illicitly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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