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noun, lar·ce·ny \-nē, -sə-nē\

Simple Definition of larceny

  • law : the act of stealing something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of larceny

plural larcenies

  1. :  the unlawful taking of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently

Examples of larceny in a sentence

  1. He was arrested and charged with larceny.

  2. He has been accused of several larcenies.

Origin of larceny

Middle English, from Anglo-French larecin theft, from Latin latrocinium robbery, from latron-, latro mercenary soldier, probably from Greek *latrōn, from latron pay

First Known Use: 15th century

LARCENY Defined for Kids


noun lar·ce·ny \ˈlär-sə-nē\

Definition of larceny for Students

plural larcenies

  1. :  the unlawful taking of personal property without the owner's consent :  theft

History for larceny

In Latin, the language of ancient Rome, the word latro referred to a soldier who fought for pay rather than from a sense of duty. Because such soldiers had a poor reputation, the meaning of the word came to be “robber” or “bandit,” and the word derived from it, latrocinium, meant “act of robbery.” Latrocinium became larecin, “theft,” in medieval French, and this word was borrowed into English as larceny.

Law Dictionary


noun lar·ce·ny \ˈlär-sə-nē\

Legal Definition of larceny

plural larcenies

  1. :  the unlawful taking and carrying away of personal property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently; also :  any of several types of theft (as embezzlement or obtaining another's property by false pretenses) that have been traditionally distinguished from larceny Editor's note: Under the Model Penal Code and in states that follow it, larceny is a type of theft. In states where larceny is currently defined as a separate crime, it may include the crimes that were distinct from it under common law. grand larceny :  felonious larceny of property having a value greater than an amount fixed by law; also :  larceny accompanied by aggravating circumstances (as the use of threats) larceny by trick :  larceny of property obtained by the use of misrepresentation especially in getting an owner to hand over something in the belief that it is for temporary purposes — compare false pretenses larceny from the person :  larceny of property held by or within the immediate control of its owner petit larceny \ˈpe-tē-\ :  larceny of property having a market value below an amount fixed by law —called also petty larceny Editor's note: Petit larceny is a misdemeanor.

Origin of larceny

modification of Anglo-French larcine theft, from Old French larrecin, from Latin latrocinium robbery, from latron- latro mercenary soldier, brigand

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