- The definition of crime is illegal or immoral activities.
- When a person steals something or commits murder, this is an example of crime.
- Polluting the water, even if it is not illegal to do so, is an example of a crime; a crime against nature.
- an act committed in violation of a law prohibiting it, or omitted in violation of a law ordering it; often, specif., such an act of a serious nature, as a felony: crimes are variously punishable by death, imprisonment, or the imposition of certain fines or restrictions: the range of crime includes felonies and misdemeanors, but not petty violations of local ordinances
- an offense against morality; sin
- criminal acts, collectively
- Informal something regrettable or deplorable; shame: it's a crime you didn't finish school
Origin of crimeOld French ; from Classical Latin crimen, verdict, object of reproach, offense, probably ; from Indo-European an unverified form (s)krei- (from source scream), extension of base an unverified form ker-: see raven
- An act committed in violation of law where the consequence of conviction by a court is punishment, especially where the punishment is a serious one such as imprisonment.
- Unlawful activity: statistics relating to violent crime.
- A serious offense, especially one in violation of morality.
- An unjust, senseless, or disgraceful act or condition: It's a crime to waste all that paper.
Origin of crimeMiddle English, from Old French, from Latin crīmen; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
abetment the act of abetting or inciting another to commit a crime. —abettor, abetter, n. bigamy the condition of having two spouses simultaneously. —bigamist, n. —bigamous, adj. contrabandism the practice of smuggling. —contrabandist, n. corruptionist a person who practices or advocates corruption, especially in politics or public life. criminology the scientific study of crime and criminals. —criminologist, n. —criminologic, criminological, adj. defalcation 1. unauthorized appropriation of money; embezzlement. 2. the sum embezzled. depeculation Obsolete, the act of stealing or embezzling. disseizin, disseisin the process of wrongfully or unlawfully dispossessing a person of his rightful real property. embracery the crime of attempting to influence or suborn a judge or jury by bribery, threats, etc. extortionist a person who practices the crime of extortion or the obtaining of money by threat of violence. Also extortioner. fugitation fleeing from justice, as by a criminal. gangdom the world of gangs or organized crime. knavery petty dishonesty or fraud. —knave, n. —knavish, adj. malfeasance wrongdoing or improper or dishonest conduct, especially by a person who holds public office or a position of trust. Cf. misfeasance. —malfeasant, adj. malversation fraudulent behavior, extortion, or corruption by a person who holds public office or a position of trust. mayhem Law. an intentional crippling, disfigurement, or mutilation of another. miscreancy criminal action or behavior; wrong- or evil-doing. —miscreant, n., adj. misfeasance a form of wrongdoing, especially the doing of something lawful in an unlawful way so that the rights of others are infringed. Cf. malfeasance. —misfeasor, n. misprision improper conduct or neglectful behavior, especially by a person who holds public office. mouchardism the practice of being a police spy. —mouchard, n. peculation embezzlement. penitence, penitency the state or condition of regretting crimes or offenses and being willing to atone for them. —penitent, n., adj. penology 1. the science of the punishment of crime. 2. the science of the management of prisons. —penologist, n. polygamy the condition of having more than two spouses simultaneously. —polygamist, n. —polygamous, adj. recidivism a repeated relapsing into criminal or delinquent behavior. —recidivist, n. —recidivistic, recidivous, adj. ropery Archaic. roguish or criminal behavior or action; conduct deserving of hanging. signalment a detailed description of a person for purposes of identification by police. skulduggery underhanded, dishonest, or deceptive behavior or actions. trigamy the condition of having three spouses simultaneously. —trigamous, adj. Whitefootism the actions of an Irish secret society (circa 1832) whose members committed murders and other crimes. —Whitefoot, n.
(countable and uncountable, plural crimes)
- Adjectives often applied to "crime": organized, brutal, terrible, horrible, heinous, horrendous, hideous, financial, sexual, international.
crime - Legal Definition
An act or omission that violates the law and is punishable by a sentence of incarceration. See also felony, misdemeanor, offense, and violation.anticipatory crime
See inchoate crime.bias crime
See hate crime.common-law crime
An offense that was a crime under the common law. Nearly all crimes, including offenses that were common-law crimes, are now defined by statute and are, thus, statutory crimes. Also, most states no longer recognize common-law crimes.computer crime
A crime, such as committing fraud over the Internet, that requires the knowledge or utilization of computer technology. Also called cybercrime.crime against nature
One of the three sexual acts (oral sex and anal sex, whether with a person of the opposite or same sex, and sex with animals) that were considered crimes under the common law and that, in some cases, are currently a statutory crime. Also called unnatural act. See also bestiality and sodomy.crime of passion
A crime committed in a moment of sudden or extreme anger or other emotional disturbance sufficient enough for a reasonable person to lose control and not reflect on what he or she is doing.crime of violenc
e. See violent crime.cybercrime
See computer crime.hate crime
A crime motivated mostly by bias, ill will, or hatred toward the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, country of national origin, religion, or sexual orientation. Many states impose extra penalties if a crime is committed due to such motivation. Also called bias crime. See also freedom of speech.high crime
A crime whose commission offends the public’s morality.inchoate crime
One of the three crimes (attempt, conspiracy, solicitation) that are steps toward the commission of another crime. Also called anticipatory crime, anticipatory offense, and inchoate offense.infamous crime
- Under common law, any one of the crimes that were considered particularly dishonorable and the punishment for which included ineligibility to hold public office, to serve on a jury, or to testify at a civil or criminal trial. These crimes included treason, any felony, forgery, and perjury, among other offenses.
- Any crime punishable by death or by imprisonment of more than one year. See also punishment.
A crime that is defined by a person’s condition or character rather than by any wrongful act that they have done. For example, the “crime” of being an alcoholic as opposed to being intoxicated in public or drinking alcohol while driving a vehicle. The United States Supreme Court has held that to impose a sanction for such crimes violates the ban found in the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution against cruel and unusual punishment. See also vagrancy.statutory crime
- An offense that was not a crime under the common law, but has been made a crime by a statute.
- Broadly, any crime that is defined by a statute. See also common-law crime.
A crime, such as drug use, gambling, and a crime against nature, that directly harms no person or property except that of the consenting participants.violent crime
Any crime that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another or any felony that entails a substantial risk that physical force will be used against the person or property of another. Also called a crime of violence.white-collar crime
Any business or financial non-violent crime, such as bribery, consumer fraud, corruption, embezzlement, and stock manipulation, committed by business executives, professionals, and public officials.