corpus delicti

noun
cor·​pus de·​lic·​ti | \ ˈkȯr-pəs-di-ˈlik-ˌtī How to pronounce corpus delicti (audio) , -(ˌ)tē \
plural corpora delicti

Definition of corpus delicti

1 : the substantial and fundamental fact necessary to prove the commission of a crime
2 : the material substance (such as the body of the victim of a murder) upon which a crime has been committed

Did You Know?

Corpus delicti literally means "body of the crime" in Latin. In its original sense, the body in question refers not to a corpse but to the body of essential facts that, taken together, prove that a crime has been committed. In popular usage, corpus delicti also refers to the actual physical object upon which a crime has been committed. In a case of arson, it would be a ruined building; in a murder case, the victim's corpse.

First Known Use of corpus delicti

1818, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for corpus delicti

borrowed from New Latin corpus dēlictī "body of the misdeed"

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The first known use of corpus delicti was in 1818

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Cite this Entry

“Corpus delicti.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/corpus%20delicti. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for corpus delicti

corpus delicti

noun
corpus de·​lic·​ti | \ -di-ˈlik-ˌtī, -(ˌ)tē How to pronounce corpus delicti (audio) \
plural corpora delicti

Medical Definition of corpus delicti

1 : the substantial and fundamental fact (as, in murder, actual death and its occurrence as a result of criminal agency) necessary to prove the commission of a crime
2 : the material substance (as the body of the victim of a murder) upon which a crime has been committed

corpus delicti

noun
corpus de·​lic·​ti | \ -di-ˈlik-ˌtī, -dā-, -tē How to pronounce corpus delicti (audio) \

Legal Definition of corpus delicti

: the substance of a crime that the prosecutor must prove and that consists of an injury or loss (as death of a victim or disappearance of property) and the criminal act that resulted in it

History and Etymology for corpus delicti

New Latin, literally, the body of the offense

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