Definition of unlawful in English:

unlawful

adjective

  • Not conforming to, permitted by, or recognized by law or rules:

    ‘the use of unlawful violence’
    ‘they claimed the ban was unlawful’
    • ‘What is he to do if he is met by the defence that the debt or supposed debt arose from unlawful moneylending?’
    • ‘What is the difference between a contract ex facie unlawful and one that is only illegal as performed?’
    • ‘Each of the people who uses or threatens unlawful violence will be guilty of the offence.’
    • ‘It therefore is not in breach of any fundamental rights of the Claimants or otherwise unlawful.’
    • ‘If malice aforethought is lacking the unlawful homicide will be manslaughter.’
    • ‘The Government rarely punished persons responsible for torture or unlawful deaths.’
    • ‘In other words the receipt of the letter led him to believe that immediate unlawful violence would be used.’
    • ‘Where a conspiracy employs unlawful means and causes injury to a party a claim may also be upheld.’
    • ‘The Defendants deny the allegation that they have incited others to carry out unlawful actions.’
    • ‘He is not acting as a surrogate of the court in determining whether there has been unlawful conduct.’
    • ‘The House of Lords had to determine whether the rule amounted to such unlawful discrimination.’
    • ‘Usury was at first unlawful, although later specific controls were placed on interest rates.’
    • ‘This was not somebody trying to improve his situation in life even by unlawful means.’
    • ‘In the present case there is no evidence of bad faith or unlawful conduct on the part of the Council.’
    • ‘Both appellants denied any unlawful intent in relation to explosions in this country.’
    • ‘The defendant's motive should not change a lawful act into an unlawful act.’
    • ‘They sought their release on the ground that the conditions of their detention rendered it unlawful.’
    • ‘Mr Masciantonio was acting in an unlawful way when he had a fight with the deceased.’
    • ‘It was unlawful for the Home Office to disregard the policy, as it had done in the directions for removal.’
    • ‘The case before Judge Hoff was not one of high treason but one of unlawful extradition.’
    illegal, illicit, lawbreaking, illegitimate, against the law
    criminal, felonious, indictable, actionable, delinquent, culpable
    prohibited, banned, outlawed, proscribed, forbidden, unauthorized, unsanctioned, unwarranted, unlicensed, contraband, black-market, under the counter, under the table
    villainous, corrupt, dishonest, fraudulent, nefarious
    verboten
    crooked, shady, bent
    miscreant
    View synonyms

Usage

On the difference between unlawful and illegal, see illegal

Pronunciation:

unlawful

/ʌnˈlɔːfʊl/