permitted by law; lawful: Such acts are not legal.
of or pertaining to law; connected with the law or its administration: the legal profession.
appointed, established, or authorized by law; deriving authority from law.
recognized by law rather than by equity.
of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the profession of law or of lawyers: a legal mind.
of or pertaining to the Mosaic Law.
of or pertaining to the doctrine that salvation is gained by good works rather than through free grace.
a person who acts in a legal manner or with legal authority.
an alien who has entered a country legally.
a person whose status is protected by law.
a fish or game animal, within specified size or weight limitations, that the law allows to be caught and kept during an appropriate season.
a foreigner who conducts espionage against a host country while working there in a legitimate capacity, often in the diplomatic service.
legals, authorized investments that may be made by fiduciaries, as savings banks or trustees.

1490–1500; < Latin lēgālis of the law, equivalent to lēg- (stem of lēx) law + -ālis -al1

legally, adverb
postlegal, adjective
prelegal, adjective
pseudolegal, adjective
quasi-legal, adjective
quasi-legally, adverb
unlegal, adjective
unlegally, adverb
unlegalness, noun

3. licit, legitimate, sanctioned. Unabridged

legal dictionary

a specialized dictionary covering terms used in the various branches of the legal profession, as civil law, criminal law, and corporate law. A comprehensive legal dictionary adds to its body of standard English entries many words and phrases that have made their way into modern legal practice from law French and Latin and are rarely found in a general English monolingual dictionary. Such a specialized dictionary is useful not only for law students and for attorneys themselves, but for members of the lay public who require legal services. Legal dictionaries published in print follow the normal practice of sorting entry terms alphabetically, while electronic dictionaries, such as the online Dictionary of Law on, allow direct, immediate access to a search term. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
legal (ˈliːɡəl)
1.  established by or founded upon law; lawful
2.  of or relating to law
3.  recognized, enforceable, or having a remedy at law rather than in equity
4.  relating to or characteristic of the profession of law
[C16: from Latin lēgālis, from lēx law]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c. "of or pertaining to the law," from L. legalis "legal, pertaining to the law," from lex (gen. legis) "law," possibly related to legere "to gather," on notion of "a collection of rules" (see lecture). Sense of "permitted by law" is from 1640s. The O.Fr. form was
leial, loial (see leal, loyal). Related: Legality. Legal tender is from 1740.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

legal definition

Loosely used to mean "in accordance with all the relevant rules", especially in connection with some set of constraints defined by software. "The older =+ alternate for += is no longer legal syntax in ANSI C." "This parser processes each line of legal input the moment it sees the trailing linefeed." Hackers often model their work as a sort of game played with the environment in which the objective is to maneuver through the thicket of "natural laws" to achieve a desired objective. Their use of "legal" is flavoured as much by this game-playing sense as by the more conventional one having to do with courts and lawyers. Compare language lawyer, legalese.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
The world has outrun the courts, and legal technicalities have outlived their
There is legal precedent that could work against the officers in this instance.
The legal business has undergone not only recession but also structural change.
He will definitely be trying to find personal loans to get legal advice if
  accusations of fraud are to continue.
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