legitimacy

[li-jit-uh-muh-see]
noun
the state or quality of being legitimate.

Origin:
1685–95; legitim(ate) + -acy

nonlegitimacy, noun


lawfulness, legality, rightfulness.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
legitimate
 
adj
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 valid: a legitimate question
5.  authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law
6.  of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary right: a legitimate monarch
7.  of or relating to a body of famous long-established plays as distinct from films, television, vaudeville, etc: the legitimate theatre
 
vb
8.  (tr) to make, pronounce, or show to be legitimate
 
[C15: from Medieval Latin lēgitimātus made legal, from lēx law]
 
le'gitimacy
 
n
 
le'gitimateness
 
n
 
le'gitimately
 
adv
 
legiti'mation
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

legitimacy
1690s, of children; general use from 1836; see legitimate.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

legitimacy

status of children begotten and born outside of wedlock. Many statutes either state, or are interpreted to mean, that usually a child born under a void marriage is not illegitimate if his parents clearly believed that they were legally married. Similarly, annulment of a marriage usually does not illegitimize the children.

Learn more about legitimacy with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
It's no secret that race-based affirmative action in higher education faces a
  crisis of legitimacy.
If these people were to see their side lose, she points out, they might begin
  to question the legitimacy of the government itself.
There are certain things whose value depends largely on their legitimacy.
The past few years have seen signs that the party wants to use nationalist
  sentiment to bolster its legitimacy.
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