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).


  • IPA(key): /ˈaʊtlɔː/
  • (file)


outlaw (plural outlaws)

  1. A fugitive from the law.
  2. (historical) 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.





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.
    • 1662, Thomas Fuller, History of the Worthies of England
      our English common law was outlawed in those parts.

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