a. A fugitive from the law.
b. A habitual criminal.
c. A rebel; a nonconformist: a social outlaw.
- A person excluded from normal legal protection and rights.
- A wild or vicious horse or other animal.
transitive verbout·lawed, out·law·ing, out·laws
- To declare illegal: outlawed the sale of firearms.
- To place under a ban; prohibit: outlawed smoking in the house.
- To deprive (one declared to be a criminal fugitive) of the protection of the law.
Origin of outlaw
Middle English outlaue from
Old English ūtlaga from
Old Norse ūtlagi from ūtlagr outlawed, banished ūt out
; see ud-
in Indo-European roots. lög law
; see legh-
in Indo-European roots.
Related Forms:Word History:
The word outlaw
brings to mind the cattle rustlers and gunslingers of the Wild West, but it comes to us from a much earlier time, when guns were not yet invented but cattle stealing was. Outlaw
can be traced back to the Old Norse word ūtlagr,
“outlawed, banished,” made up of ūt,
“out,” and lög,
“law.” An ūtlagi
(derived from ūtlagr
) was someone outside the protection of the law. The Scandinavians, who invaded and settled in England during the 8th through the 11th century, gave us the Old English word ūtlaga,
which designated someone who because of criminal acts had to give up his property to the crown and could be killed without recrimination. The legal status of the outlaw became less severe over the course of the Middle Ages. However, the looser use of the word to designate criminals in general, which arose in Middle English, lives on in tales of the Wild West.
- A fugitive from the law.
- A person who is excluded from normal legal rights.
- A person who operates outside established norms.
- The main character of the play was a bit of an outlaw who refused to shake hands or say thank you.
- A wild horse.
- (humorous) An in-law: a relative by marriage.
(third-person singular simple present outlaws, present participle outlawing, simple past and past participle outlawed)
- To declare illegal
- To place a ban upon
- To remove from legal jurisdiction or enforcement.
- to outlaw a debt or claim
- To deprive of legal force.
- Laws outlawed by necessity. "” Fuller.
From Middle English outlaue (“banished"), Old English Å«tlaga (“outlaw").