Etymology
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lawful (adj.)

c. 1300, laghful, "rightful, supported by law" (of sanctions, etc.); see law (n.) + -ful. Meaning "allowed by law" is late 14c. Similar construction in Old Norse logfullr. Old English had lahlic. Related: Lawfully; lawfulness.

updated on May 22, 2016

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Definitions of lawful from WordNet

lawful (adj.)
having a legally established claim;
the true and lawful king
Synonyms: true / rightful
lawful (adj.)
conformable to or allowed by law;
lawful methods of dissent
lawful (adj.)
according to custom or rule or natural law;
Synonyms: rule-governed
lawful (adj.)
authorized, sanctioned by, or in accordance with law;
Synonyms: legitimate / licit
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.