Definition of illegal in US English:

illegal

adjective

  • Contrary to or forbidden by law, especially criminal law.

    ‘illegal drugs’
    • ‘He thinks it will be difficult to prove it is his voice on the bootleg, illegal version.’
    • ‘When we looked into it a number of computers were generating lots of illegal traffic.’
    • ‘If it cannot protect them from drugs then it should protect them from illegal drugs and gangsters.’
    • ‘I have also seen loads of illegal dumping and it's vandalism of a natural amenity.’
    • ‘So it was cruel of York police to choose this week to announce a major crackdown on illegal driving.’
    • ‘Many illegal drugs have to be imported into this country from different parts of the world.’
    • ‘Further the use of cluster bombs as indiscriminate weapons is also illegal it is contended.’
    • ‘He was charged with possession of illegal substances and a public order offence.’
    • ‘The use of this illegal extension currently involves a form of religious gathering.’
    • ‘The line between vigorous price competition and illegal predation may be a fine one.’
    • ‘We offer advice on the procedures to get court orders to remove illegal encampments.’
    • ‘He was sentenced to four years for illegal possession of the firearm with intent to endanger life.’
    • ‘It is one of the biggest cases of Internet piracy and illegal copying ever discovered.’
    • ‘Taking any other type of drug is also an illegal activity so surely one can lead to the other.’
    • ‘No Court will lend its aid to a man who founds his cause of action upon an immoral or an illegal act.’
    • ‘Swindon Council has had to take action against illegal camps in the town in the past.’
    • ‘English law makes illegal a contract to indemnify a person in respect of liability for fraud.’
    • ‘They need to be believe that illegal activity is going on in premises before searching them.’
    • ‘Anyone found with illegal substances in their bloodstream will face prosecution.’
    • ‘The report also raises concerns over the efforts to tackle illegal drug use in prison.’
    unlawful, illicit, illegitimate, against the law, criminal, lawbreaking, actionable, felonious
    foul, against the rules
    View synonyms

noun

North American
derogatory
  • A person present in a country without official authorization.

    • ‘It's really about illegal immigration and how to make illegals legal.’
    • ‘But whether illegals are the sort of immigrants he really wants to attract is another matter.’
    • ‘The large number of births to illegals shows that the longer illegal immigration is allowed to persist, the harder the problem is to solve.’
    • ‘Even politicians who thunder about illegals have trouble sticking to their convictions.’
    • ‘No wonder Tyson and so many other companies like them are hiring so many illegals and claiming that no Americans want these jobs.’
    • ‘By talking tough on illegals, politicians have been able to defend high levels of legal immigration.’
    • ‘Another gain for illegals is the campaign to allow them to attend state universities at the in-state resident rate.’
    • ‘Letting the states bill the Feds for the costs associated with illegals would hit the politicians in the wallet.’
    • ‘That way you can't tell by looking at the books how many illegals are getting organs - or even that it's going on at all.’
    • ‘People who insist that all illegals be deported have an excellent point, and I think they're right.’
    • ‘Have a telephone tip line to report illegals to Immigration.’
    • ‘Sales tax, maybe, but most illegals are going to be paid under the table in cash, with the IRS not seeing the details.’
    • ‘I've got another one $1 that a poll would reveal that most Americans would like all illegals deported.’
    • ‘These poor illegals, mostly of them are Mexican, and they are not coming into this country to do anything other than find a job.’
    • ‘Instead, for whatever reason, the Democrats want to have illegals here to use as political pawns.’
    • ‘The president has expressed his support for amnesty on some occasions for illegals, much to the chagrin of many in the party.’
    • ‘Others may not wish to increase legal immigration without first cutting back on the illegals.’
    • ‘Before the election a figure for the number of illegals was politically embarrassing because it showed that the government had lost control of our borders.’
    • ‘Irish immigration centres estimate 10,000 Irish are among 14 million illegals in the US.’
    • ‘Immigration officials say those illegals come from more than 100 countries.’

Origin

Early 17th century: from French illégal or medieval Latin illegalis, from Latin in- ‘not’ + legalis ‘according to the law’.

Pronunciation

illegal

/ɪ(l)ˈliɡəl//i(l)ˈlēɡəl/