What does illegal mean?

Definitions for illegal
ɪˈli gəlil·le·gal

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word illegal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. illegaladjective

    prohibited by law or by official or accepted rules

    "an illegal chess move"


  1. illegalnoun

    An illegal immigrant.

  2. illegalnoun

    An illegal resident spy.

  3. illegaladjective

    Contrary to or forbidden by law, especially criminal law.

  4. illegaladjective

    Not permitted by rules

    Moving a pawn backward is an illegal move in chess.

  5. illegaladjective

    Totally fictitious, and often issued on behalf of a non-existent territory or country.

  6. illegaladjective

    Being an illegal immigrant; residing in a country illegally.

  7. Etymology: From il- (an assimilated version of in-) + legal. In senses relating to immigration, via clipping from illegal alien or illegal immigrant.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Illegaladjective

    Contrary to law.

    Etymology: in and legalis, Latin.

    No patent can oblige the subject against law, unless an illegal patent passed in one kingdom can bind another, and not itself. Jonathan Swift.


  1. Illegal

    Illegal is a song recorded by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira for her seventh studio album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2 (2005). It was written and produced by Shakira and Lester Mendez and it features Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana. Epic Records released the song as the album's third and final single on 6 November 2006, following the release of "Hips Don't Lie". "Illegal" is a pop and country ballad with lyrics concerning mourning of a past lover complete with an understated vocal performance by Shakira and an electric guitar riff by Santana throughout. It received mixed reviews from music critics, who compared it with Alanis Morissette's material and were mixed towards Santana's contribution. The song achieved moderate success, topping the chart in Romania and the US Dance Club Songs chart and peaking within the top ten in Austria, Italy, Netherlands, Hungary and Switzerland among other countries. The music video for the song, co-directed by Jaume de Laiguana and Shakira, had its premiere on 16 November 2006 on MTV's Total Request Live (TRL). It features the singer portraying a girlfriend of a boxer and follows a similar storyline to the song's lyrics. "Illegal" has been performed by the singer live on few occasions, such as during the MTV 5 Star event (2005) and Good Morning America (2006).


  1. illegal

    Illegal refers to something that is prohibited or not authorized by law, often involving actions that can be punishable by law if committed.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Illegaladjective

    not according to, or authorized by, law; specif., contrary to, or in violation of, human law; unlawful; illicit; hence, immoral; as, an illegal act; illegal trade; illegal love

  2. Etymology: [Pref. il- not + legal: cf. F. illgal.]


  1. Illegal

    "Illegal" is the third and final single released from Shakira's second English language studio album, Oral Fixation Vol. 2. It features celebrated Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana. The song was released right after the massive worldwide success of "Hips Don't Lie". The radio release for "Illegal" in the United States and Canada was on November 14, 2006. The music video for the song premiered on November 16, 2006 on MTV's Total Request Live and debuted the next day at #9. It became a hit in countries like Latvia, and Ukraine.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Illegal

    il-lē′gal, adj. contrary to law.—v.t. Illē′galīse, to render unlawful.—n. Illegal′ity, the quality or condition of being illegal.—adv. Illē′gally.

Suggested Resources

  1. illegal

    Song lyrics by illegal -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by illegal on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. Illegal

    Illegal vs. Illicit -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Illegal and Illicit.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'illegal' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3866

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'illegal' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4792

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'illegal' in Adjectives Frequency: #515

How to pronounce illegal?

How to say illegal in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of illegal in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of illegal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of illegal in a Sentence

  1. Deane Jordan:

    Chain letters are not illegal. What is illegal is to threaten lives in such letters or solicit money.

  2. Richard Milhous Nixon:

    When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.

  3. Chen Zhanheng:

    It is not very easy to close all illegal mining and it is very easy for illegal miners to steal from the mines. Costs are low, the mines are scattered and some local governments also protect illegal miners.

  4. Donald Trump:

    Illegal immigration funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs and the flow of deadly drugs. Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations, hurts hard-working citizens and has produced a vicious cycle of crime, violence and poverty. Only by upholding national borders, destroying criminal gangs, can we break this cycle and establish a real foundation for prosperity.

  5. Robert Orben:

    Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for illegal

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • غير شرعيArabic
  • il·legalCatalan, Valencian
  • ilegálníCzech
  • illegal, rechtswidrigGerman
  • άνομος, λαθρομετανάστης, έκνομος, απαγορευμένος, παράνομοςGreek
  • ilegalSpanish
  • ebaseaduslikEstonian
  • laiton, [[laiton]] [[maahanmuuttaja]], vastainenFinnish
  • illégal, sans-papiersFrench
  • neamhdhleathachIrish
  • ilícitoGalician
  • 不法入国者, 違法, 不法Japanese
  • უკანონოGeorgian
  • derqanûn, yasax, qedexe, qaçax, memnûh, neqanûnîKurdish
  • нелегален, противзаконски, неправилен, незаконски, незаконит, недозволен, илегаленMacedonian
  • illegaal, onwettig, strafbaar, sans-papiersDutch
  • ilegalPortuguese
  • ilegal, nelegalRomanian
  • [[нелега́льный]] [[иммигра́нт]], нелега́льный, неве́рный, неправоме́рный, непра́вильный, нелега́лка, [[нелегальный, нелега́л, незако́нныйRussian
  • lagstridig, olaglig, illegalSwedish
  • haramuSwahili
  • yasa dışıTurkish
  • bất hợp phápVietnamese

Get even more translations for illegal »


Find a translation for the illegal definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"illegal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 11 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/illegal>.

Discuss these illegal definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for illegal? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    make worse
    • A. jeopardize
    • B. accompany
    • C. emerge
    • D. aggravate

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for illegal: