a. Being in compliance with the law; lawful: a legitimate business.
b. Being in accordance with established or accepted rules and standards: legitimate advertising practices.
c. Valid or justifiable: a legitimate complaint.
d. Based on logical reasoning: a legitimate deduction.
2. Born of legally married parents: legitimate offspring.
3. Of, relating to, or ruling by hereditary right: a legitimate monarch.
4. Of or relating to drama of high professional quality that excludes burlesque, vaudeville, and some forms of musical comedy: the legitimate theater.
tr.v. (-māt′) le·git·i·mat·ed, le·git·i·mat·ing, le·git·i·mates
[Middle English legitimat, born in wedlock, from Medieval Latin lēgitimātus, law-worthy, past participle of lēgitimāre, to make lawful, from Latin lēgitimus, legitimate, from lēx, lēg-, law; see leg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
le·giti·mat′or (-māt′ər) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 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.