Definition of licit in English:



  • Not forbidden; lawful.

    ‘usage patterns differ between licit and illicit drugs’
    • ‘The legislation introduces a number of provisions aimed to ensure that medicines are used safely and for licit purposes.’
    • ‘Divisions between illicit and licit discursive morality conditioned everyday discursive practices via offensive and exclusionary practices.’
    • ‘Moreover, one can raise no objection when a churchman expresses his concern regarding the material well-being of families and suggests that morally licit methods of improving it should be pursued.’
    • ‘The latter is much more plausible for drug sellers than for licit businesses because drug enterprises are essentially never driven out of business by negative accounting profits.’
    • ‘Without interdiction and eradication as disincentives, growers are unlikely to abandon more lucrative and easily cultivated coca crops in favor of less profitable and harder to grow licit crops or to pursue legal employment.’
    • ‘In any case, comparison with licit drugs such as tobacco and alcohol hardly provides a model for legalisation.’
    • ‘The actual trade routes are another interesting difference between licit and illicit trade.’
    • ‘Printers themselves were expected to monitor the boundaries between licit and illicit content in their works.’
    • ‘Observers wonder what is the difference between licit and illicit antiquities dealers, given how much of the material comes from sites.’
    • ‘The use of force to obtain justice is morally licit in itself.’
    • ‘In this, while the drug of choice differed, their patterns of consumption were not markedly different from commonly found ‘normal’ patterns of consumption of licit drugs such as alcohol.’
    • ‘In 1924 a United States law banning licit diamorphine was passed, but this was often ignored by local authorities.’
    • ‘What it provides, however, is a set of criteria by which a potential military action might be judged morally licit or illicit.’
    • ‘Adherents generally do not distinguish between licit and illicit substances, but view all drugs as having potential for doing good or ill.’
    • ‘Thus few priests by the 1920s were commending ‘periodic continence’ to their most troubled penitents, although it was licit for them to do so.’
    • ‘This points to the need of an authority capable of making the distinctions necessitated by the various circumstances that affect the description of an action as licit or illicit.’
    • ‘Among persons that continued to sustain arrests in Manhattan, both licit and illicit substance use tended to persist throughout mid-life.’
    • ‘Our paper has conceptualized both the location of drug dealing and licit business establishments as outcomes of collective efficacy.’
    • ‘The Board noted with concern the continuing global disparities in the actual availability and the unjustifiable discrepancies in the consumption of important licit narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in different regions.’
    • ‘It also indicates the close association at times between licit medicines and illicit drugs and the common terrain of human physiology.’
    legitimate, permissible, admissible, allowable, acceptable
    View synonyms


Late 15th century: from Latin licitus ‘allowed’, from the verb licere.