1. Of, relating to, or concerned with law: legal papers.
a. Established or recognized by law: a legal right.
b. Authorized by law: the legal owner.
c. Established legally other than by statute, as by a judicial opinion: a legal authority.
3. In conformity with or permitted by law: legal business operations.
4. Recognized or enforced by law rather than by equity.
5. In terms of or created by the law: a legal offense.
6. Applicable to or characteristic of attorneys or their profession.
7. Acceptable or allowable under official rules: a legal forward pass.
a. A person who is legally authorized to live and work in a country.
b. A person or department providing legal assistance.
2. A legal notice, especially an advertisement.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin lēgālis, from lēx, lēg-, law; see leg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.