\ ˈkrīm How to pronounce crime (audio) \

Definition of crime

1 : an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government especially : a gross violation of law
2 : a grave offense especially against morality
3 : criminal activity efforts to fight crime
4 : something reprehensible, foolish, or disgraceful It's a crime to waste good food.

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Other Words from crime

crimeless \ ˈkrīm-​ləs How to pronounce crimeless (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for crime

offense, sin, vice, crime, scandal mean a transgression of law. offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code. at that school no offense went unpunished sin implies an offense against moral or religious law. the sin of blasphemy vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts. regarded gambling as a vice crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state. the crime of murder scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience. a career ruined by a sex scandal

Examples of crime in a Sentence

She paid dearly for her crimes. evidence that helped them solve the crime He was punished for a crime that he didn't commit. the recent increase in violent crime Being single is not a crime. There's no greater crime than forgetting your anniversary.
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Recent Examples on the Web That’s up from $485 million in 2014 despite a reduction in crime. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, "New York mayor says he will slash police budget by $1 billion, activists aren’t buying it," 29 June 2020 There's also been a recent spike in crime citywide with a number of shootings that is comparable to the 1990s. CBS News, "NYPD sees spike in members filing for retirement amid protests and rise in crime," 27 June 2020 The charges, brought on Thursday by Attorney General Francisco Barbosa, accuse six soldiers of participating in the crime and one of being an accomplice. Julie Turkewitz,, "Seven Colombian soldiers charged in rape of Indigenous girl," 26 June 2020 Civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong, a sharp critic of the department, said the move is premature and counterproductive to building trust with the Black community amid the current uptick in crime. Washington Post, "Plan advances to allow dismantling Minneapolis Police Dept.," 26 June 2020 Infinity then brings the ballot box to Payton’s campaign office, implicating him, his now-wife Alice (Julia Schlaepfer), and everyone on his team in the crime. Ariana Romero,, "The Politician Finale Dropped A Major Clue About Payton’s Big Season 3 Race," 25 June 2020 However, in September 2018, the California law changed — raising the bar for a felony murder conviction to require a greater level of intent in the crime. Cleo Krejci, The Arizona Republic, "Navajo County case highlights debate over treatment of inmates during COVID-19," 25 June 2020 Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for any information leading to the immediate arrest of anyone involved in the crime. Carol Robinson |, al, "4 suspects sought in 2019 killing of Montgomery father; reward offered," 23 June 2020 As a veteran of several of these… Criminal Minds Just over an hour after he had been threatened with assassinationin Sacramento, President Ford spoke about the troubling rise in crime in the United States. Brian Merchant, Harpers Magazine, "Archive: 2020," 23 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crime.' 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 crime

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for crime

Middle English, "wrongdoing, sin," borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin crīmin-, crīmen "accusation, charge, indictment, source of an accusation, misdeed, offense," probably from crī-, variant stem of cernere "to sift, discern, decide, determine" + -men, resultative noun suffix (probably originally "decision," then "judicial decision, indictment") — more at certain entry 1

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Time Traveler for crime

Time Traveler

The first known use of crime was in the 14th century

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Statistics for crime

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crime.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for crime


How to pronounce crime (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crime

: an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government
: activity that is against the law : illegal acts in general
: an act that is foolish or wrong


\ ˈkrīm How to pronounce crime (audio) \

Kids Definition of crime

1 : the act of doing something forbidden by law or the failure to do an act required by law
2 : an act that is foolish or wrong It's a crime to waste food.


\ ˈkrīm How to pronounce crime (audio) \

Legal Definition of crime

1 : conduct that is prohibited and has a specific punishment (as incarceration or fine) prescribed by public law — compare delict, tort
2 : an offense against public law usually excluding a petty violation — see also felony, misdemeanor

Note: Crimes in the common-law tradition were originally defined primarily by judicial decision. For the most part, common-law crimes are now codified. There is a general principle “nullum crimen sine lege,” that there can be no crime without a law. A crime generally consists of both conduct, known as the actus reus, and a concurrent state of mind, known as the mens rea.

3 : criminal activity

History and Etymology for crime

Middle French, from Latin crimen fault, accusation, crime

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More from Merriam-Webster on crime

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crime

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crime

Spanish Central: Translation of crime

Nglish: Translation of crime for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crime for Arabic Speakers

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