bur·glary | \ ˈbər-glə-rē also -gə-lə-rē also -gəl-rē \
plural burglaries

Definition of burglary 

: the act of breaking and entering a dwelling at night to commit a felony (such as theft) broadly : the entering of a building with the intent to commit a crime

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Other words from burglary

burglarious \ˌbər-ˈgler-ē-əs \ adjective
burglariously adverb

Examples of burglary in a Sentence

There have been a number of burglaries in the neighborhood in recent months. He has been charged with attempted burglary.

Recent Examples on the Web

Browner, 33, also faces robbery, burglary and false imprisonment charges, according to NFL.com. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Super Bowl champion charged with attempted murder after incident with woman," 11 July 2018 Crowley has a criminal record out of Oregon that includes convictions of burglary and eluding police, CBS affiliate KPAX reported. CBS News, "Officers recall finding buried baby; man says he abandoned boy because he was heavy," 11 July 2018 Matzkow faces charges of felony theft, possession of methamphetamine, driving, hit and run, first degree burglary and loiter prowl, according to jail records. Zachary Hansen, ajc, "Cops: Cobb man high on meth steals SUV, rams through gate before breaking into home," 11 July 2018 Lott was sentenced in 1988 to more than 200 years for rape, robbery, burglary and making a bomb threat related to the 1987 attack on a woman at her home in Ada, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City. Ken Miller, The Seattle Times, "Innocence Project: DNA frees Oklahoma man convicted of rape," 10 July 2018 Court records show Duran pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges of first-degree burglary and menacing in a 2014 incident involving a Springfield, Oregon, woman, according to the publication. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Out of prison just 8 days, Oregon man stabs homeowner to death, police say," 3 July 2018 They are being charged as adults with burglary and murder, and are being held without bail. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Fatal stabbing might have been over prank with stolen ID," 3 July 2018 Tracy Andrade, 47, 300 block of Old Indian Trail, Aurora, was charged with residential burglary and theft by deception at 12:06 p.m. Friday at her home, Aurora police said. Erika Wurst, Aurora Beacon-News, "Police: Aurora man charged with delivery of marijuana," 25 June 2018 Both are facing municipal charges as a result of the June 17 arrest, though police said both had warrants in other jurisdictions for burglary and drug possession charges. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Pair caught with drugs — and they stole hot dogs, Missouri cops say," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'burglary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of burglary

circa 1523, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for burglary

Anglo-French burglarie, modification of Medieval Latin burgaria, from burgare to break into (a house)

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Statistics for burglary

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for burglary

The first known use of burglary was circa 1523

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English Language Learners Definition of burglary

: the act of illegally entering a building in order to steal things


bur·glary | \ ˈbər-glə-rē \
plural burglaries

Kids Definition of burglary

: the act of breaking into a building especially at night with the intent to commit a crime (as theft)


bur·glary | \ ˈbər-glə-rē \
plural burglaries

Legal Definition of burglary 

: the act of breaking and entering an inhabited structure (as a house) especially at night with intent to commit a felony (as murder or larceny) also : the act of entering or remaining unlawfully (as after closing to the public) in a building with intent to commit a crime (as a felony)

Note: The crime of burglary was originally defined under the common law to protect people, since there were other laws (as those defining larceny and trespass) that protected property. State laws have broadened the common-law crime. Entering at night is often no longer required and may be considered an aggravating factor. The building may be something other than a dwelling, such as a store or pharmacy. Some states (as Louisiana) have included vehicles under their burglary statute. There are degrees of burglary, and some of the usual aggravating factors are the presence of people and use of a deadly weapon.

Other words from burglary

burglarious \ˌbər-ˈglar-ē-əs \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on burglary

Spanish Central: Translation of burglary

Nglish: Translation of burglary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of burglary for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about burglary

Comments on burglary

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