Loosely used to mean "in accordance with all the relevant rules", especially in connection with some set of constraints defined by software. "The older =+ alternate for += is no longer legal syntax in ANSI C." "This parser processes each line of legal input the moment it sees the trailing linefeed." Hackers often model their work as a sort of game played with the environment in which the objective is to manoeuvre through the thicket of "natural laws" to achieve a desired objective. Their use of "legal" is flavoured as much by this game-playing sense as by the more conventional one having to do with courts and lawyers. Compare language lawyer, legalese.

(01 Jul 2002)

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1. Created by, permitted by, in conformity with, or relating to, law; as, a legal obligation; a legal standard or test; a legal procedure; a legal claim; a legal trade; anything is legal which the laws do not forbid.

2. According to the law of works, as distinguished from free grace; or resting on works for salvation. According to the old or Mosaic dispensation; in accordance with the law of Moses

3. Governed by the rules of law as distinguished from the rules of equity; as, legal estate; legal assets. Legal cap. See Cap. Legal tender. The act of tendering in the performance of a contract or satisfaction of a claim that which the law prescribes or permits, and at such time and place as the law prescribes or permits. That currency, or money, which the law authorises a debtor to tender and requires a creditor to receive. It differs in different countries.

Synonyms: Lawful, constitutional, legitimate, licit, authorised. See Lawful.

Origin: L. Legalis, fr. Lex, legis, law; prob. Orig, that which lies or is fixed (cf. L. Lectus bed), and if so akin to E. Lie, law: cf. F. Legal. Cf. Lie to be prostrate, Loyal, Leal.

(01 Mar 1998)

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