Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

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One entry found for lawful.
Main Entry: law·ful
Pronunciation: 'lo-f&l
Function: adjective
Date: 14th century
1 a : being in harmony with the law <a lawful judgment> b : constituted, authorized, or established by law : RIGHTFUL <lawful institutions>
2 : LAW-ABIDING <lawful citizens>
- law·ful·ly /-f(&-)lE/ adverb
- law·ful·ness /-f&l-n&s/ noun
synonyms LAWFUL, LEGAL, LEGITIMATE, LICIT mean being in accordance with law. LAWFUL may apply to conformity with law of any sort (as natural, divine, common, or canon) <the lawful sovereign>. LEGAL applies to what is sanctioned by law or in conformity with the law, especially as it is written or administered by the courts <legal residents of the state>. LEGITIMATE may apply to a legal right or status but also, in extended use, to a right or status supported by tradition, custom, or accepted standards <a perfectly legitimate question about taxes>. LICIT applies to a strict conformity to the provisions of the law and applies especially to what is regulated by law <the licit use of drugs by doctors>.