When something's legal, or the rules allow it, you can call it lawful. It's lawful to plant a tree in your yard, but it's not lawful to dig up a tree in the city park.

Things that are lawful are allowed or permitted, like driving after you've gotten your drivers license or baking your neighbor a cake. Neither of these things is prohibited by law, so they're lawful. You have a lawful right to build a cabin on land you own, and it's also lawful to put up a fence. The adjective comes from law, which has an Old English root, lagu, "ordinance, rule, regulation, or a district governed by them."

Definitions of lawful

adj conformable to or allowed by law

lawful methods of dissent”
law-abiding, observant
(of individuals) adhering strictly to laws and rules and customs
established by or founded upon law or official or accepted rules
square, straight
characterized by honesty and fairness
contrary to or prohibited by or defiant of law
lawless, outlaw
disobedient to or defiant of law
lawless, wide-open
lax in enforcing laws
unlawfully violating the rights of others
prohibited by law or by official or accepted rules
corrupt, crooked
not straight; dishonest or immoral or evasive
show more antonyms...

adj authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law

legitimate, licit
established by or founded upon law or official or accepted rules

adj having a legally established claim

“the true and lawful king”
rightful, true
of marriages and offspring; recognized as lawful

adj according to custom or rule or natural law

in accordance with fixed order or procedure or principle

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