The theft of property whose value is below a certain specified amount, making the theft a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
Originally distinguished from grand larceny as a matter of degree. A theft of something valued at 12 pence or less was considered petty larceny, and the death penalty was not invoked. Today, the amount differentiating between petty and grand larceny is in dollars and varies from state to state. See also larceny and grand larceny.