noun \ˈär-sən\

: the illegal burning of a building or other property : the crime of setting fire to something

Full Definition of ARSON

:  the willful or malicious burning of property (as a building) especially with criminal or fraudulent intent
ar·son·ist \-ist\ noun
ar·son·ous \-əs\ adjective

Examples of ARSON

  1. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but investigators suspect arson.
  2. The town has suffered a rash of arson attacks.
  3. The town has suffered a rash of arsons.

Origin of ARSON

Anglo-French arsoun, from ars, past participle of arder, ardre to burn, from Latin ardēre — more at ardor
First Known Use: circa 1680

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi

Rhymes with ARSON


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Crime commonly defined by statute as the unlawful damage or destruction of property by means of fire or explosion. In nearly all countries (except Great Britain) an arsonist is guilty of murder if someone dies as a result of his action, even if he did not intend to kill. Germany and some U.S. states also impose serious penalties for arson when it is committed to conceal or destroy evidence of another crime. Although fire caused by accident or ordinary carelessness is not arson, a person may be guilty of arson if he causes a fire in reckless disregard of the consequences of his actions.


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