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.
crimelessplay \ˈkrīm-ləs\ adjective
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.
Recent Examples of crime from the Web
In the 1970s, American metros were suffering a terrible crime wave, and New York was dropping dead.
Such alleged crimes face no statutes of limitation.
Crime happens, but not half as much as the normal everyday stuff.
Director Jon Watts does a good job defining Peter’s spheres — high school, home (ageless Marisa Tomei is his caretaker aunt), nocturnal crime-fighting — and hop-scotching coherently among them.
Baby Driver R A ruthless crime boss not so subtly convinces a young getaway driver to take on one last job, a bank heist that is destined to fail.
Ted Cruz, a principled conservative who would never condone violence against the media, thirstily made some vague, nonsensical allusions suggesting that CNN may have committed a crime.
Maas said official figures showed the number of hate crimes in Germany increased by over 300 percent in the last two years.
Another 48 Hrs. (July 1) Establishing the buddy cop movie template, Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte are a convict and a police officer, respectively, paired together to solve a crime in Water Hill's hit films (the first of which is far superior).
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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 1certain
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of crime
CRIME Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of crime for English Language Learners
: 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
CRIME Defined for Kids
Definition of crime for Students
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.
Legal Definition of crime
2 : an offense against public law usually excluding a petty violation — see also felony, misdemeanor Editor's 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
Origin and Etymology of crime
Middle French, from Latin crimen fault, accusation, crime
Seen and Heard
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