Definition of outlaw in English:



  • 1A person who has broken the law, especially one who remains at large or is a fugitive.

    ‘bands of outlaws held up trains’
    ‘the outlaw Ned Kelly’
    • ‘The betrayal of outlaws by informers was a common historical fact.’
    • ‘Robin Hood and his band of outlaws fight back against the tyranny of Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.’
    • ‘The outlaw biker image is a break from the conformity that has taken over America since industrialization.’
    • ‘Immediately the dangers of his civilization are reified, as Huck hears a conversation between outlaws on the run.’
    • ‘Yet his efforts would be repeatedly undermined by the Canadian establishment until eventually he became a wanted outlaw.’
    • ‘At a pass, they are ambushed by a band of outlaws!’
    • ‘The men, obviously bandits or outlaws of some sort, wore drab grey clothes and the horses they were astride seemed to be skinny and underfed.’
    • ‘In 1878, he and his brother were declared outlaws; there were warrants out for their arrest.’
    • ‘Can the local bandits tame the outlaws from the West?’
    • ‘A group of scholars who work on women and violence are going beyond oversensationalized women murderers and outlaws to understand criminal females in general.’
    • ‘"So, no sign of the legendary outlaw, " Sean said.’
    • ‘The band of forest outlaws is resolutely unthreatening, though there's every likelihood that this was Shakespeare's intention.’
    • ‘If you would accept our escort, we would guard you from bands of villainous outlaws.’
    • ‘One of them was a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang.’
    • ‘Despite what romantic notions your kind has invented we are criminals, bandits and outlaws.’
    • ‘Rather, he is considered an international outlaw and may be dealt with as such.’
    • ‘The four men remained outlaws and were eventually cornered in the town of Glenrowan in 1880.’
    • ‘Whilst he is certainly an outlaw and bandit of historic proportions there is little or no connection with the notion of hereditary criminal tribes.’
    • ‘I feel like an outlaw on the run.’
    • ‘A veritable Wild West show, the story had it all: miners, gamblers, outlaws, vigilantes, robber barons, and venal politicians.’
    fugitive, wanted criminal, outcast, exile, pariah, bandit, desperado, brigand, robber, criminal, black hat
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    1. 1.1historical A person deprived of the benefit and protection of the law.
      • ‘They are too often treated as outlaws with no protections under the law.’
      • ‘I do not think that it could be said that a person in breach of some statutory duty or other prohibition thereupon becomes an outlaw, unable to enforce any of his rights against anyone.’
      • ‘The Court was clearly concerned that the fact that the plaintiff was a burglar should not mean that he effectively became an outlaw, beyond the protection of the civil law.’


  • 1Ban or make illegal.

    ‘secondary picketing has been outlawed’
    ‘the outlawed terrorist group’
    • ‘A few cities, including San Francisco, explicitly outlaw weight discrimination.’
    • ‘In effect, these measures outlaw political campaigns against arbitrary or illegal detentions.’
    • ‘However, as best I can tell, New Mexico hasn't outlawed what this guy did.’
    • ‘Bait and switch is outlawed in many states as a selling practice.’
    • ‘In 1833, the British government outlawed slavery, ending its institution.’
    • ‘The bill also outlaws foreign funding of many local aid agencies.’
    • ‘Gloves could not cost more than twelve pence and shoes of Spanish leather were also outlawed.’
    • ‘In order to stifle the fuel protests, the right to protest in Britain was effectively outlawed.’
    • ‘Then, a few weeks ago, they were outlawed completely and indefinitely.’
    • ‘He also welcomed the new equal status legislation which outlaws discrimination in provision of goods and services.’
    • ‘Whereas before this practice was outlawed, it is now permissible - subject to the requirements imposed by the section.’
    • ‘Not until then did most states outlaw common law marriage.’
    • ‘The cabinet was told this would be in line with expected government legislation outlawing such discrimination from 2006.’
    • ‘Irrigation can be used to overcome water stress, although it is outlawed in some countries.’
    • ‘The government outlawed slavery a long time ago.’
    • ‘In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed segregation in public schools.’
    • ‘When will our authorities have the courage to say " enough is enough " and completely outlaw this practice?’
    • ‘Love isn't something that someone can tax, or outlaw.’
    • ‘The legislation is not there to tackle discriminatory treatment but to outlaw sex discrimination.’
    • ‘In contrast, the European Union has virtually outlawed the use of antibiotics in imported food.’
    ban, bar, prohibit, forbid, veto, embargo, boycott, make illegal, disallow, proscribe, interdict
    banish, exile, cast out, exclude, expel, shut out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1historical Deprive (someone) of the benefit and protection of the law.
      ‘he lost the estate in 1626, having been outlawed for non-payment of debts’
      • ‘He was outlawed, which meant that when he was arrested there was no need for a trial.’


Late Old English ūtlaga (noun), ūtlagian (verb), from Old Norse útlagi, noun from útlagr ‘outlawed or banished’.