I'm looking for an adjective that could be used to describe an activity that is generally frowned upon, although not necessarily illegal. Or if it is indeed unlawful, then it should be a "soft" illegality, in the sense that people enforcing the law would recognize such activity as illegal but would probably "let it slide."

The closest word I have found is illicit, but it does not entirely reflect what I'm trying to get across.


You could use


adj. ...

  1. of doubtful quality or propriety; questionable: a dubious compliment.

[[Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries]





If informal usage would work for you:


2 informal Of doubtful honesty or legality:

Because she did not suspect a shady deal was brewing, when she found out the loan was approved, she signed on the dotted line.

And the synonyms: fishy, murky and dodgy

  • Unfortunately, I would prefer to keep to formal usage. Thanks anyways! – Al Benoit May 31 '15 at 23:31
  • @AlBenoit You are welcome :-). For formal usage Edwin Ashworth's answer is the right choice. – Lucky May 31 '15 at 23:35

In the U.S. an infraction is the lowest legal level of a crime and is commonly considered less than a crime. "Ah, that's nothing, man--an infraction. You won't even get a slap on the wrist." Now what's the word for turning a noun into an adjective?

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