Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[li-jit-uh-muh-see] /lɪˈdʒɪt ə mə si/
the state or quality of being legitimate.
1685-95; legitim(ate) + -acy
Related forms
nonlegitimacy, noun
lawfulness, legality, rightfulness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for legitimacy
  • 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.
  • The agency was initially troubled by lawsuits that challenged its legitimacy.
  • But scalping has also stumbled on its way to legitimacy.
  • There is another question, about the legitimacy of research.
  • The company also hired experts who expressed deep skepticism about the legitimacy of the e-mails and contract.
  • The legitimacy of an appointment can be either a procedural or a moral matter.
  • Until you do, you can't reply to me with any authority or legitimacy.
Word Origin and History for legitimacy

1690s, of children; general use by 1836; see legitimate + -cy. Legitimateness an earlier word for it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for 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 illegitimacy with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for legitimacy

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for legitimacy

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with legitimacy