Definition of outlaw in English:



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

    • ‘In 1878, he and his brother were declared outlaws; there were warrants out for their arrest.’
    • ‘One of them was a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang.’
    • ‘A veritable Wild West show, the story had it all: miners, gamblers, outlaws, vigilantes, robber barons, and venal politicians.’
    • ‘Immediately the dangers of his civilization are reified, as Huck hears a conversation between outlaws on the run.’
    • ‘Despite what romantic notions your kind has invented we are criminals, bandits and outlaws.’
    • ‘"So, no sign of the legendary outlaw, " Sean said.’
    • ‘A group of scholars who work on women and violence are going beyond oversensationalized women murderers and outlaws to understand criminal females in general.’
    • ‘Can the local bandits tame the outlaws from the West?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet his efforts would be repeatedly undermined by the Canadian establishment until eventually he became a wanted outlaw.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At a pass, they are ambushed by a band of outlaws!’
    • ‘The four men remained outlaws and were eventually cornered in the town of Glenrowan in 1880.’
    • ‘Rather, he is considered an international outlaw and may be dealt with as such.’
    • ‘Whilst he is certainly an outlaw and bandit of historic proportions there is little or no connection with the notion of hereditary criminal tribes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I feel like an outlaw on the run.’
    • ‘The betrayal of outlaws by informers was a common historical fact.’
    fugitive, wanted criminal, outcast, exile, pariah, bandit, desperado, brigand, robber, criminal, black hat
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    1. 1.1 An intractable horse or other animal.
    2. 1.2historical A person deprived of the benefit and protection of 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.’
      • ‘They are too often treated as outlaws with no protections under the law.’


  • 1Ban or make illegal.

    ‘Maryland outlawed cheap small-caliber pistols’
    ‘the outlawed guerrilla group’
    • ‘However, as best I can tell, New Mexico hasn't outlawed what this guy did.’
    • ‘In effect, these measures outlaw political campaigns against arbitrary or illegal detentions.’
    • ‘In 1833, the British government outlawed slavery, ending its institution.’
    • ‘Whereas before this practice was outlawed, it is now permissible - subject to the requirements imposed by the section.’
    • ‘Irrigation can be used to overcome water stress, although it is outlawed in some countries.’
    • ‘In contrast, the European Union has virtually outlawed the use of antibiotics in imported food.’
    • ‘The bill also outlaws foreign funding of many local aid agencies.’
    • ‘In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed segregation in public schools.’
    • ‘Love isn't something that someone can tax, or outlaw.’
    • ‘In order to stifle the fuel protests, the right to protest in Britain was effectively outlawed.’
    • ‘Bait and switch is outlawed in many states as a selling practice.’
    • ‘A few cities, including San Francisco, explicitly outlaw weight discrimination.’
    • ‘He also welcomed the new equal status legislation which outlaws discrimination in provision of goods and services.’
    • ‘Then, a few weeks ago, they were outlawed completely and indefinitely.’
    • ‘The cabinet was told this would be in line with expected government legislation outlawing such discrimination from 2006.’
    • ‘When will our authorities have the courage to say " enough is enough " and completely outlaw this practice?’
    • ‘The legislation is not there to tackle discriminatory treatment but to outlaw sex discrimination.’
    • ‘Not until then did most states outlaw common law marriage.’
    • ‘Gloves could not cost more than twelve pence and shoes of Spanish leather were also outlawed.’
    • ‘The government outlawed slavery a long time ago.’
    ban, bar, prohibit, forbid, veto, embargo, boycott, make illegal, disallow, proscribe, interdict
    banish, exile, cast out, exclude, expel, shut out
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    1. 1.1historical Deprive (someone) of the benefit and protection of the law.
      • ‘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’.