From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Outlaw and -out-law


English Wikipedia has an article on:
Robin Hood, an outlaw in English folklore.
A wanted poster for Jesse James, an American outlaw.


From Middle English outlawe, outlagh, utlaȝe, from Old English ūtlaga (outlaw), borrowed from Old Norse útlagi (outlaw, fugitive), equivalent to out- +‎ law. Cognate with Icelandic útlagi (outlaw).



outlaw (plural outlaws)

  1. A fugitive from the law.
  2. (history) A criminal who is excluded from normal legal rights; one who can be killed at will without legal penalty.
  3. A person who operates outside established norms.
    The main character in the play was a bit of an outlaw who refused to shake hands or say thank you.
  4. A wild horse.
  5. (humorous) An in-law: a relative by marriage.
  6. (humorous) One who would be an in-law except that the marriage-like relationship is unofficial.
  7. (slang) A prostitute who works alone, without a pimp.
    • 1977, Joseph Julian, Social Problems, page 463:
      Without a pimp, she was an "outlaw," likely to be harassed, or threatened with assault or robbery on the street.
    • 2010, Lawrence Block, Eight Million Ways To Die:
      She was an outlaw. Chance is doing some double-checking to see if she had a pimp nobody knew about, but it doesn't look likely.



Derived terms[edit]



outlaw (third-person singular simple present outlaws, present participle outlawing, simple past and past participle outlawed)

  1. To declare illegal.
  2. To place a ban upon.
    • 2016 August 15, “'Zombie knives' ban to come into force”, in BBC News[1]:
      The legal change in England and Wales will outlaw selling, manufacturing, renting or importing zombie knives.
  3. To remove from legal jurisdiction or enforcement.
    to outlaw a debt or claim
  4. To deprive of legal force.
    • a. 1662 (date written), Thomas Fuller, The History of the Worthies of England, London: [] J[ohn] G[rismond,] W[illiam] L[eybourne] and W[illiam] G[odbid], published 1662, →OCLC:
      our English common law was outlawed in those parts.


See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]