From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishillegalil‧le‧gal1 /ɪˈliːɡəl/ ●●●W3AWL adjectiveILLEGALnot allowed by the lawSYN unlawfulOPP legalillegal drugsThey were involved in illegal activities.it is illegal to do somethingIt is illegal to sell tobacco to someone under 16.RegisterIn everyday English, people often say that something is against the law rather than illegal:It is against the law to have a gun without a licence. —illegally adverbThey entered the country illegally. —illegality /ˌɪlɪˈɡæləti/ noun [uncountable]COLLOCATIONSadverbscompletely/totally illegalThe deal was completely illegal.highly illegal (=completely illegal)It all sounds highly illegal.strictly illegal formal (=completely illegal – used for emphasis)Phone tapping is strictly illegal.technically illegal (=according to the exact details of a law)This type of boxing, although technically illegal, remained popular until the 1880s.verbsbe illegalIt is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 16.become illegalThe drug did not become illegal until the 1970s.make something illegalHe was involved in the campaign to make hunting illegal.declare something illegalThe strike was declared illegal on July 7.illegal + NOUNan illegal weaponHe was charged with carrying an illegal weapon.illegal drugsShe was found guilty of possession of illegal drugs.an illegal substance (=an illegal drug)Customs officials found an illegal substance in Smith’s luggage.illegal parking/gambling/hunting etcThe fines for illegal parking are likely to increase.illegal immigrantsAn estimated seven million illegal immigrants are brought into Europe each year.illegal activitiesThey were suspected of being involved in illegal activities.an illegal actDriving without insurance is an illegal act.illegal use of somethingThey were found guilty of the illegal use of confidential information.THESAURUSillegalforbidden by lawIt is illegal to sell tobacco to children under 16.illegal immigrantsHe was carrying an illegal weapon.be against the law to be illegal. This phrase is very commonly used in everyday English, instead of saying that something is illegalDriving a car without insurance is against the law.It’s against the law to hit a child.unlawful illegal – a rather formalword, which is used especially when this particular action is considered to be illegal, although there are some situations where such actions can be legalThe judges said that the strike was unlawful.The money was obtained by unlawful means.a verdict of unlawful killingillicitillicit activities or goods are illegal and usually kept secretMarijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.the illicit trade in stolen cattleillegitimate not allowed or acceptableaccording to rules or agreementsthe illegitimate use of power The election results were declared to be illegitimate. illegitimate share tradingunconstitutional not allowed by a country’s constitution (=set of rules and principles by which a country is governed)The court ruled that the new law was unconstitutional.
illegalillegal2 noun [countable] American English spokenPGCCRIMEan illegal immigrantIllegals are still slipping through in unacceptable numbers.
Examples from the Corpus
illegal• They are not criminals, they are illegals, and only thus by status.• With these clothes who would possibly suspect us of being illegals?• The Clinton administration has beefed up the Border Patrol, but illegals still are slipping though in unacceptable numbers.• The illegalshide in a backroom as pluckers and gutters.• The southwestern United States and California are inundated with illegals.From King Business Dictionaryillegalil‧le‧gal /ɪˈliːgəl/ adjective1LAWnot allowed by the lawit is illegal to do somethingIt’s illegal to copy copyrighted movie cassettes.Despite knowing about the illegal activity, the executives failed to tell the government for months.He made illegal payments in connection with contracts awarded to his company. —illegally adverbAn investigation is being conducted to see if anyone illegally profited from the takeover.2COMPUTING involving an instruction, CHARACTER etc that is not allowed in a particular computer program