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legitimacy

Definitions of Legitimacy

  1. (noun) Political support based on the authority and power of public officials, public policy, and the political structure.
  2. (noun) The rightful exercise of authority, force, and power by an individual or group, particularly an institution that commands and demands obedience.

Examples of Legitimacy

  • Definition 1:
    • Citizens supporting their government’s decision to go to war with another country.
  • Definition 2:
    • Seat belt laws are legitimate because the police issue citations that are upheld by the courts, based on laws passed by the legislature.

Legitimacy Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: le·git·i·ma·cy

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ləˈdʒɪdəməsi/
  • British English – /lᵻˈdʒɪtᵻməsi/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: legitimacies
  • A (noun) legitimator (verb) legitimizes or (verb) legitimatizes something through the process of (noun) legitimation or (noun) legitimization and provides (noun) legitimateness (adverb) legitimately.

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Additional Information

Related Terms


Works Consulted

Carrabine, Eamonn, Pam Cox, Maggy Lee, Ken Plummer, and Nigel South. 2009. Criminology: A Sociological Introduction. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Cite the Definition of Legitimacy

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “legitimacy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 13, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/legitimacy/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

legitimacy. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/legitimacy/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “legitimacy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 13, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/legitimacy/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“legitimacy.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 13 Dec. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/legitimacy/>.