Day 1767: Unlawful

What does “unlawful” mean to you?

Here‘s what it means to Merriam-Webster:

Definition of unlawful

1 :not lawful :illegal
2 :not morally right or conventional
— unlawfully \ˌən-ˈlȯ-f(ə-)lē\ adverb
— unlawfulness  \ˌən-ˈlȯ-fəl-nəs\ noun

First Known Use: 14th century

So now we know that unlawful means “not lawful.” Is that helpful or not helpful?

Also, is morally right really equivalent to conventional? Personally, I strive to be morally right but rarely strive to be conventional.

I also wonder what “unlawful” meant in the 14th century and how the meaning has changed over time.

These days, when I read the news (which is still lawful, as far as I know), I see many stories about people in power being unlawful, which is awful (“unlawful” minus the first three letters).

Is this photo unlawful, lawful, or awful?


What about this one?


“MKM” are the initials of my boyfriend Michael.  If I had written that on a wall, would that have been unlawful? How about taking a picture of it, like I did yesterday?

Here‘s Unlawful singing “You’re Not Alone.”*

I’m glad it’s not unlawful to sing or say “You’re Not Alone,” because that’s a very important message of group therapy (which I practice lawfully in Boston).

Here and now, it’s not unlawful to

  • blog,
  • leave comments, and
  • express gratitude to all who helped me create this”unlawful” post and to you — of course! — for lawfully reading it.



* Perhaps it was unlawful to use that video of Unlawful, because sinceI published this post,  that video has disappeared.

Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Post navigation

30 thoughts on “Day 1767: Unlawful

  1. Yeah, I’m a bit unconventional too!

  2. This post is unconventional too Ann. 💛

  3. We have to fight the eternal struggle to keep basic moral conventions prevalent in the daily way of life, Ann. Sometimes that does feel awful, especially since January of this year.

  4. I think not all laws are morally right but it would be sad if convention was enforced. Hence all those sci-fi movie plots. Thanks for the song by Unlawful, We need to sing every day, be heard! Hope you have a peaceful day.

  5. Maureen

    Reading news coming from the US often makes me speechless these days. I am not sure I can locate lawful on the spectrum between right and wrong the way I used to. I take comfort in not being alone here on your blog,

  6. Not sure about lawful or unlawful but I know your blog will never be awful.

  7. Pondering “unlawful” led me to the OED which traces the first use of the word back to 1398 when it was described as “unlawful” to cut into hills with the blade of a plow. The quote adds that “unlawful” in Latin is “nefas”, a word which gives us “nefarious”. However “law” comes to us from Old English “lagu” which also comes from Latin.
    There oughta be a law against Latin giving us that many words.

  8. Sometimes you have to do something unlawful. Maybe it’s graffiti. You could always go back and color that heart in!

  9. Let’s see: Since the 14th century there had been laws against vagabonds-So I guess it was unlawful to wander around without a home or a job or a master, they put you in the stocks or in jail. Today it’s unlawful to loiter, you have to move on. Being a vagabond was against the law because it made the city look bad. As does loitering (especially in front of a liquor store), so the city puts you in jail. The City is the Law. So ends today’s lesson (Sean Connery-the cop in “The Untouchables”)

  10. My great great grandfather was deported from Glasgow in 1838 to the infamous Port Arthur prison in Tasmania, and served 15 years, and we don’t know what his “unlawful act” was !!

  11. I often have difficulty equating lawful with morally right

  12. Alex

    Great blog right here! Also your site so much up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I am getting your associate link on your host? I desire my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  13. Twila Levine

    Fantastic site. A lot of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you for your effort!

  14. Lana Mccoy

    hi!,I like your writing very much! percentage we be in contact more approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert in this house to solve my problem. Maybe that is you! Looking forward to look you.

    • I’m getting a lot of comments on this post from new people over the last couple of days. Because I didn’t post this on AOL and because all of these recent comments could apply equally to any blog post on the internet, I’m wondering if these are all lawful. In any case, thanks for the comment!

  15. Kristi Bishop

    I’m no longer sure the place you are getting your info, however great topic. I must spend some time finding out much more or working out more. Thank you for great info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: